Sibling Shop Leo Burnett Announces Merit Raise Freeze

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CHICAGO ( -- Starcom USA, Chicago, has laid off 20 employees, or less than 4% of its staff, the media planning and buying agency announced today.

Coming in the wake of the company's loss of the $170 million Bank of American account, the move was characterized by company officials as a cost management decision. "While it is never an easy one to make, it puts the company in a stronger financial position," the Publicis Groupe media unit said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Publicis sibling agency Leo Burnett USA has informed employees they would not be receiving merit raises until November, said Bob Brennan, Leo Burnett's president of North American.

Burnett employees did receive a planned bonus on March 19 that had been pushed back from March 15 for tax reasons, according to the company.

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