DraftFCB Cuts About 100 Staffers in Chicago

SC Johnson Loss Spurs 10% Layoff in Flagship Office

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DraftFCB's flagship Chicago office has cut about 10% of its staff in the wake of losing SC Johnson's marketing business late last month.

The company declined to provide an exact number of jobs eliminated. But the Chicago office is estimated to have around 1,000 employees; a 10% cut there means about 100 staffers.

On a global basis, the number of employees laid off is larger. A statement from the company said the global workforce will be reduced by about 3%, including the Chicago layoffs. Nearly 9,200 employees work at DraftFCB globally, so about 275 jobs will be eliminated overall.

While cuts were expected due to the loss of the SCJ business, they also came rather swiftly; it was less than three weeks ago the agency got word Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO would take over as the lead creative shops for the Racine, Wisc.-based marketer.

A spokesman stressed that no global offices will be shut at this time, noting that it has other large accounts, such as "Beiersdorf's entire portfolio, which we now handle in 90-plus countries around the world." The spokesman also said that other U.S. offices were not affected by this decision and that no additional cuts are planned throughout the remainder of the year.

The spokesman declined to elaborate on whether the positions affected were creative, planning, administrative or otherwise. He just noted that "people who are leaving the agency represent a variety of functions and levels." People familiar with the matter told Ad Age prior to today's layoff that they expected multiple departments to be affected, as well as account executives on business beyond SC Johnson.

While this layoff is one of the larger ones adland has witnessed in some time, the number let go is smaller than what many people familiar with the agency had speculated. Some people familiar with the agency earlier told Ad Age they expected as many as 200 to 250 people could be let go in the Chicago office alone.

One person familiar with the situation said the staffing and operations proposal that DraftFCB submitted to SCJ during the agency review indicated that more than 500 full-time equivalent employees globally worked on the business.

In a statement, Laurence Boschetto, global CEO and president of DraftFCB, said: "With SCJ moving elsewhere, we naturally had to take a close look at our staffing levels to make sure they were aligned with current client needs. We had closed down many open jobs several months ago in the event that the SCJ decision did not go our way, and that has helped to lessen the impact of that decision."

SC Johnson accounted for an estimated $60 million in revenue globally, and an estimated $20 million to $25 million for the Chicago office. Ad Age 's DataCenter estimated DraftFCB's global revenue for 2010 at $1.3 billion.

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