MDC Partners parts with a chunk of its leadership team

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Credit: MDC Partners

Advertising-agency holding company MDC Partners has laid off a "small handful" of its corporate team, the company confirmed Thursday.

"Our MDC colleagues are truly family, and they represent some of the best in the business," chief communications officer Alex Delanghe Ewing said in an emailed statement.

"As we look to the future and refine the structure of our organization to best support our clients and agency partners, we made the difficult decision to part ways with a small handful of individuals within our corporate team."

MDC declined to identify the individuals laid off.

The cuts affected around five members of the holding company's leadership team, according to people familiar with the situation. The holding company's website lists 16 leadership roles. MDC Partners' total corporate employees number around 80.

MDC Partners' portfolio includes agencies such as 72andSunny, Anomaly, Assembly, Colle McVoy, Doner, KBS and The Media Kitchen.

In May, MDC Partners chairman and CEO Scott Kauffman said the advertising holding company's first-quarter results were "unacceptable," citing some client cutbacks and slower conversion in its new-business pipeline as it reduced its 2018 financial targets.

"We share your frustration with our financial results," Kauffman said on the earnings call. "We need to do better."

Lee Cooperman, chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, asked on the call about the company's strategy.

"You've been more of a buyer than a seller," he said. "I mean, you've not been the best custodian of the shareholders' money. This call is so different, Scott, than what you talked about on the last call. People wonder kind of what you're up to."

Kauffman answered: "Look, as the chairman I can assure you it's the board's responsibility to consider any and all options to maximize shareholder value. That's a fiduciary duty that we take very seriously, and as I said, we're committed to it."

Early last year, MDC entered into an agreement with Goldman Sachs in which the Merchant Banking Division would invest $95 million for a 15 percent stake in the agency holding company. Goldman Sachs' Bradley Gross, a managing director in the Merchant Banking Division, joined the MDC board of directors.

MDC Partners is scheduled to report second quarter and first-half earnings on Aug. 2.

Contributing: I-Hsien Sherwood

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