Enfatico Lays Off 8% of Work Force

CEO Torrence Boone Cites Recession, Cutbacks at Client Dell

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Enfatico, the WPP marketing agency erected for Dell, today eliminated 8% of its staff -- about 80 positions -- from its global base of nearly 1,000.

Enfatico is the agency built from scratch to service Dell after the computer maker inked a three-year, $4.5 billion marketing contract with WPP in late 2007. The agency announced the layoffs on its blog.

The cuts affected various departments and even senior executives. As part of the reductions, Valerie Hausladen, general manager of the Austin, Texas, office, is exiting the company. Debbie Blevins will take over her responsibilities in an expanded role as head of the agency's offices in Austin and Toronto.

In a memo circulated to Enfatico staff, agency chief Torrence Boone called the move "a direct result of the global recession and pressures affecting virtually all aspects of the economy, especially the technology sector."

Curtailed marketing efforts
Enfatico's client and partner in the venture has been squeezed, so Enfatico, too, must streamline its operations, Mr. Boone said. Dell has slashed thousands of jobs -- removing two of its top marketers, Mark Jarvis and Casey Jones, in the process -- and curtailed its marketing efforts. Among other things, in December, Dell pulled out of its long-term contracts to run ads on the back covers of business magazines including Fortune and The Economist.

In his note, Mr. Boone went on to offer staffers words of encouragement, calling for the organization to come together in a time of difficulty, and focus on building a successful business on behalf of WPP's shareholders. "We have several new-business pitches in the works, and we are hopeful to announce some positive news on this front soon," Mr. Boone said.

In a September sit-down interview with Ad Age, Mr. Boone said Enfatico had previously turned away some new-business opportunities, and estimated the agency would bring a new client onto its roster in six to nine months.

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