DONER TO SHUT DOWN BALTIMORE OFFICE

Some Employees Expected to Transfer to Michigan HQ

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Independent advertising agency Doner today said it would shutter its direct-marketing operation in Baltimore and consolidate the unit into its Southfield, Mich., headquarters.

The move, to be finalized Aug. 31, is meant to allow the agency to provide better integrated services, said Alan Kalter, Doner's chairman-CEO.

"Our integrated marketing solution is a critical part of what we have to provide our clients, so integrating our people around our clients makes more sense," he said.

Staff transfers expected
Mr. Kalter expects roughly 20% of the office's 75 staffers to transfer to other offices as accounts and personal situations allow, while the rest likely will be laid off.

The move ends years of speculation that Doner would leave the Baltimore market. Originally opened in the 1955 to service the regional Altes Brewery account, the Baltimore office grew to become the largest ad agency in the city and Doner's co-headquarters. Over time it also became the center of the agency's direct-marketing capability. In 1998, Doner stripped the office of co-headquarters status, prompting rumors of a shutdown. By 2000, most of management had moved back to Southfield.

"I don't relish [affecting] that many people's lives when they've done a good job, but it's a business decision that on balance took the 800 other people into account," Mr. Kalter said.

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