Frankel trims 45 jobs in a 6% staff cutback

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Frankel, the promotional unit of Publicis Groupe, is eliminating 45 jobs, or 6% of its 730 employees in Chicago and San Francisco. The cuts are wide-ranging across departments, with ranks from administrative staff to senior VPs being let go, confirmed Dan Rose, Frankel president and chief operating officer. "We are reshaping our people and capabilities around our client needs," he said, noting the moves are "anticipatory" to the slowing economy. "We need to create impactful ideas to build brands that sell and we need to be more nimble, more fluid and more efficient."

While he said some clients have reduced or cut budgets, Mr. Rose stressed that many clients have increased their billings. The agency's 2000 gross income grew 5.3% to $99.6 million from 1999, when Frankel posted gross income of $94.5 million.

Mr. Rose conceded that some cuts were made in Frankel's flagging Siren Technologies unit. "Market acceptance has been slower than expected," he said. The company plans to continue hiring in the digital and direct mail specialty units and is "looking at acquisitions" in interactive agencies that "complement our capabilities or geography," he added. When asked if the company had any interest in Halo Industries or its Upshot Marketing Group, Mr. Rose said he "knew of no conversations with Halo."

The reduction at Frankel marks the largest yet for the agency, which closed its 35-person Detroit office in 1999 after it lost General Motors Corp.' Oldsmobile promotional account. At least 20 people were cut in that move; the rest were moved to Frankel's Chicago headquarters.

-Kate MacArthur

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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