According to executives familiar with CP&B's Microsoft
business, the agency in the middle of last year saw its fee
slashed. Like other Microsoft agencies, it was also subjected to a
jump-ball setup where agencies compete for each new assignment. Ad
Age just this week reported that Microsoft was prepping to launch a
massive marketing review with
the hopes of finding a holding-company solution. CP&B still
handles some XBox work.
Arby's, which CP&B won in early 2012 without a review, in
October began circulating a request-for-information to creative
agencies just after its new CMO, Rob Lynch, joined. CP&B was
hired when Russ Klein -- who worked with CP&B when he led
Burger King's marketing -- joined the fast-food chain. Mr. Klein
left Arby's in May. CP&B said that it chose to not participate
in the review.
The layoffs also come in the wake of significant management
changes. Although CEO Andrew Keller remains at the helm, three
agency partners left in December. When Chief Creative Officer Rob
Reilly departed after more than a decade, the agency chose to
restructure the creative department to give executive creative
directors of its individual offices more autonomy.
Mr. Reilly's wife, Partner and Managing Director Laura Bowles,
left at the same time. Ms. Bowles was a 16-year veteran of the
agency and ran the Volkswagen account. Also parting with the shop
late last year was the agency's Chief Operating Officer Eric
Last week, one of CP&B's four original partners, President
Jeff Steinhour, moved to vice chairman. He was succeeded as
president by Steve Erich, who was named partner and managing
director in 2008 after joining the agency in 2004. Filling Mr.
Lear's chief operating officer role was Mike Saunter, who was most
recently chief financial officer at Warner Music International.
Mr. Erich issued a statement Thursday morning: "As many people
in our industry know, Microsoft moved to a roster agency model back
in November and on Monday announced that they'll be conducting a
review of all their agencies. Unfortunately these decisions have
put us in the position where a staff reduction is necessary. Today
we'll be releasing approximately 10% of our staff across our U.S.
offices. While these cuts won't in any way diminish our ability to
serve our current accounts nor go after new opportunities, this is
an incredibly difficult decision to make as it affects our
colleagues who have made many contributions to CP+B over the years.
We will do all we can to help them transition to new opportunities
and hope that with new business growth, many of them will be back
with us soon. "