GREY BEGINS LAYOFFS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Move Follows Change in Status With Cisco Account

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, San Francisco, has begun laying off employees as a result of difficulties with its advertising account for Cisco Systems.

The San Francisco office, with about 60 employees, had been staffing up since it won the Cisco account in May following a lengthly review. About half of Grey's employees were designated to work on the Cisco account. A handful were laid off in recent days, and other waves of layoffs are anticipated, a number of employees said.

Grey executives

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declined to comment.

Former IBM exec
In July, Marilyn Mersereau, a former IBM executive who had done work with WPP Group's Ogivly & Mather Worldwide, took over as Cicso's vice president of corporate advertising. Grey was then notified in late August its work from tech unit darkGrey was being put "on hold."

Meanwhile, Ogilvy offices in New York and Culver City, Calif., are working on Cisco's branding effort, which is expected to launch later this fall with some $200 million in spending behind it.

Grey's other main client in the San Francisco office is Oracle.

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