Just days after Omnicom Chairman-CEO John Wren warned that furloughs and layoffs were imminent across all the holding company’s agencies, BBDO Worldwide has laid off two of its top execs, New York Chief Creative Officer Greg Hahn and Exec VP-Director of Integrated Production Dave Rolfe.
The news marks the highest-profile layoffs in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Hahn is an award-winning vet who joined BBDO in 2005 as an executive creative director and went on to steer some of the agency’s most celebrated campaigns, including multiplatform efforts for Fedex, HBO and AT&T. He previously worked at shops including Rubin Postaer and Fallon Minneapolis, where he worked alongside BBDO Worldwide Chief Creative Officer and BBDO North America Chairman David Lubars on iconic campaigns including BMW Films and EDS’ “Cat Herders.”
Rolfe is a highly-decorated exec who joined the agency in 2012. He first made his mark as a partner at CPB, where he was largely credited for introducing to the agency model the concept of “integrated production,” which has now become industry standard. His resume includes seminal campaigns for Burger King, Best Buy, Microsoft, Ikea, Volkswagen and more.
An agency representative declined comment on the news, while Lubars simply said, "I'm too heartbroken to comment."
In an all-staff memo obtained by Ad Age earlier this week, Wren said he would be waiving his entire salary through the end of September and Omnicom’s executive leadership team would reduce salaries by a third.
The COVID-19 crisis has continued to rock the agency world this week. Ad Age learned yesterday WPP’s Grey would be furloughing 3.5 percent of its staff. The news follows major layoffs at Mullen Lowe, Giant Spoon and Anomaly, while holding companies Publicis Groupe and Dentsu Aegis Network also recently initiated hiring freezes, furloughs and salary reductions.