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(May 3, 2001) -- Omnicom Group's Martin Williams, Minneapolis, is cutting 19 positions or 6% of its staff, today, agency president Steve Collins said, citing the softening economy and recent client mergers and acquisitions.

Earlier today, the 325-person agency lost client Newell-Rubbermaid, which moved the $10 million Rubbermaid account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York. The shop had also lost client Powertel after it was acquired by Voicestream Wireless Corp.

"It's very disappointing to work for a company for a little over three years and have so many changes in direction," Mr. Collins said. "In many ways we never really got started. Each year has led to a different division and change in direction."

Rubbermaid has been a revolving door of CEOs and marketing executives, many of which joined from Black and Decker Corp., which has ties to McCann.

Last month, Martin Williams was the beneficiary of changing directions when Syngenta consolidated its $30 million business with the shop.

"We're also, ironically, in need for hiring some people for Syngenta," said Mr. Collins. "It's part of the business, and we have to deal with it and move forward. We'll be more aggressive than ever to win new business and try to make sure the client's businesses are solid and going upward." -- Kate MacArthur

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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