LAYOFF-WRACKED RAPP COLLINS MOVES LOCATION

No New CEO Named Yet for New NYC Office

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Omnicom Group's Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, last week opened the doors to its new location with significantly fewer staffers than a year ago.

Reeling from clients' reductions in marketing budgets last year, the marketing-services shop has completed three rounds of layoffs, said Rapp Collins Worldwide Chairman-CEO Malcolm Speed.

A 'good-size' reduction
"We let a number of people go three times during the year, and I would not want to get into the actual number, but there was a good-size reduction," Mr. Speed said.

An executive familiar

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with the agency estimated that 30% to 40% of New York staffers have been cut, but Mr. Speed dismissed that number as too high. Mr. Speed said 160 employees remain in the New York operation, which once employed more than 200.

"It's basically an efficiency move based on a number of clients cutting back on their commitments in 2001," said Mr. Speed, who added that "we are certainly stable now and do not foresee any additional layoffs."

Last week Rapp moved its office to Omnicom's headquarters at 437 Madison Ave., from 11 Madison Ave., which now houses the recently consolidated OMD media planning and buying operation.

No new NY chief exec
But Mr. Speed does not plan to fill the vacant president-CEO post in New York until later this year, he said. In February, Rapp New York's president-CEO, Lesley Mair, left after less than one year in the position.

Although Mr. Speed maintains Rapp's business has steadied, he admits new-business opportunities are slim.

"There is no instability in our business now, and therefore our plans in every respect are extremely positive, albeit the overall new-business environment is still very slow," he said.

Cut from Pfizer review
In addition, Rapp's New York office was cut from the review for Pfizer for Living, for which Rapp was the incumbent. "It is still an ongoing pitch, but we are not in the pitch," Mr. Speed confirmed.

Beekman Associates, the New York-based consultancy handling the Pfizer review, said a decision is expected later this week. The consultancy would not reveal any current or past contenders. Pfizer did not return calls for comment at press time.

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