Universal McCann Lays off 55 U.S. Staffers

Job Cuts Span Variety of Accounts, Offices in New York, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann laid off nearly 8% of its U.S. work force Monday, a total of 55 people. A company insider said the reduction involved junior-level staffers in the agency's New York, Dallas, Detroit and Los Angeles offices working on a variety of accounts.

Some of the agency's biggest accounts in the U.S. are Microsoft, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors Corp., the U.S. Army, Verizon Wireless and Kohl's. The insider said the layoffs were not expected to touch the teams working on Microsoft and Kohl's.

"UM has come to a difficult decision; we have reduced our U.S. staff by less than 8%," said the company in a statement. "While this isn't a large percentage of our population, we do not take this action lightly. We are always looking at ways to deliver a better product for our clients including restructuring our business model to put us in an even stronger position going forward." The media agency has nearly 700 employees in the U.S.

Since Matt Seiler took over in July as global CEO at Universal McCann, it's been a near silent on the new-business front. It recently lost the $100 million Discovery Networks pitch to Mr. Seiler's former agency, Omnicom Group's PHD.

The longtime knock on Universal McCann is that it relies very heavily on McCann Worldgroup clients such as Microsoft and Sony and has had the toughest time of all the media agencies becoming a stand-alone operation capable of bringing in its own business.