Grey’s Euro agencies face job cuts

By JOHN TYLEE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 10 December 1999 12:00AM

Jobs at Grey offices across Europe are under threat in a controversial revamp aimed at matching the network’s resources more effectively to those of its major clients.

Jobs at Grey offices across Europe are under threat in a

controversial revamp aimed at matching the network’s resources more

effectively to those of its major clients.



The plan is to develop a number of ’centres of excellence’, among them

the flagship London office, which will do most of the work on key

multinational accounts.



But while major network offices such as those in the UK, France and

Germany are likely to gain work, those serving smaller markets may miss

out, causing jobs to be lost.



’It’s been a complete bunfight with everybody squabbling,’ an industry

source said. ’Grey agencies are separate profit centres, so nobody is

keen on global fees.’



Observers believe that up to 10 per cent of jobs at Grey offices in

Holland, Belgium, Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, Scandinavia and eastern

Europe could be axed, with creative departments likely to bear the

brunt.



Chief executives of these agencies are said to be furious at the

pressures being put on them to sustain profit levels while revenues

decline and are fearful of the effect on their incentive schemes which

Ed Meyer, Grey’s worldwide boss, is said to be determined to

renegotiate.



Jonathan Hirst, Grey’s international financial director, is understood

to have been relocated from Paris to New York to force through the

restructure.



’Grey usually backs off when faced with a revolt,’ a source said. ’But

Meyer’s back is against the wall.’



The expected changes are the culmination of a two-year internal review

aimed at more effective management of creative output which began at

Grey in London but was later extended to include the whole of

Europe.



Faced with continuing poor performances across the world, Grey chiefs

believe their organisation must mirror more closely that of their major

clients, notably Procter & Gamble, the complete loyalty of which can no

longer be relied on after the relaxation of its rigid conflict

policy.



At the same time, the plan is seen as providing a fairer reward for the

London agency which sees 60 per cent of its work running beyond the

UK.



At Grey’s headquarters in New York, senior executives were playing down

the changes. ’From time to time we adjust the line-up based on specific

needs of clients and specific brands,’ one said. ’This sort of retooling

does not necessitate any major restructuring of offices.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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