GSD&M Cuts Salaries and Ousts Top Creative

Mark Taylor, Recruited From Crispin, Leaves With a Dozen Other Staff

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Omnicom Group agency GSD&M has implented a staff-wide salary cut and let go about a dozen employees including top creative Mark Taylor, who was recruited from Crispin Porter & Bogusky just a year ago after a lengthy search.

The layoff, which accounts for 2% of GSD&M staff and affects different departments, was not tied to economic pressures, agency spokesman John McGrath said. The pay cut was described as the agency "reacting responsibly to the economic environment ... it is to protect the jobs that we need to build our clients business."

Staffers at the Austin, Texas, based shop were informed of the moves in a company meeting yesterday afternoon but were not given a timeframe for when their salaries will be reinstated.

Agency reps declined to provide specifics of the scaling system, saying only that the reduction was "short-term" and that "people that make the most money will bear most of the burden in terms of a percentage decrease."

Seeking new executive creative
GSD&M has launched a search of external and internal candidates for a new executive creative director to replace Mr. Taylor. "We are looking for a different approach from a leadership and management perspective," Mr. McGrath said.

While countless other agencies have enacted as many as two and three rounds of layoffs amidst the recession, the cuts are the first wave to hit GSD&M -- which numbers about 500 staffers. It had the largest layoffs in its history at the end of 2007, when the majority of its massive AT&T media business was yanked. GSD&M had a good run last year however, picking up accounts like L.L. Bean, Marshalls and Popeyes, while managing to hold on to its key Air Force contract after a review.

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