BRANN WARNS OF POSSIBLE LARGE LAYOFFS

Loss of IBM Account Blamed for Shop's Downturn

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Havas Advertising's Brann Worldwide, Wilton, Conn., will lay off from its Wilton office 75 people, or about 62% of its staff, if business does not improve in the next two months, an executive with the agency said.

The marketing services agency on Oct. 19 sent memos to all 120 staffers, 75 of whom were given 60-day notices of possible job termination, said Andrea Franklin, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at Brann.

'Senority not a factor'
"The notice was given to let people know that if our current situation stays what it is through the end of the year, we will have to make those layoffs," Ms. Franklin said. The potential job cuts will come from all levels and across all departments, she added, stressing that "seniority was not a factor."

The looming job cuts result primarily from Brann's loss of its IBM Corp. business to WPP Group-owned siblings Young & Rubicam's Wunderman and Ogilvy & Mather's OgilvyOne, both New York.

"Clearly, IBM was a major piece of business here, but it's been a tough year over all," Ms. Franklin said, adding that Brann hopes to retain all employees until Dec. 19 to continue working on the IBM account before it shifts at year end.

Earlier layoffs
Ms. Franklin said Brann's Wilton office employed about 150 people at the beginning of the year, down to 120 now. In September, Brann laid off about two dozen people in agency offices around the country and at the corporate level as the agency assessed client needs at the end of the third quarter.

In May, Brann closed its Richmond, Va., office, laying off 60 staffers while moving accounts to other offices around the country. At that time, it also let go about 10 people in its Richmond-based Brann Data division.

Brann, part of Havas' now-defunct Diversified Agency Group, is awaiting realignment within another Havas networks, most likely Arnold Worldwide Partners or Euro RSCG. Brann employs 5,000 worldwide. 

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