NEW YORK, February 26—Following hot on the heels of layoffs at Brodeur Worldwide, Citigate Cunningham and Middleberg & Associates, WPP Group’s Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide this week announced a “rightsizing” of its technology operations that includes 70 job losses—about 5 percent of the firm’s workforce—and a restructuring of its high-tech PR units.
Ogilvy, which had been operating its own technology practice alongside Alexander Ogilvy, acquired in 1998, will consolidate the two groups into a single organization, which will continue to operate under the Alexander Ogilvy brand.
Pam Alexander will continue as chief executive of Alexander Ogilvy, with Sandra Moreland assuming the president’s title and Larry Sennett, who was head of the Ogilvy tech practice, becoming global technology practice director, with responsibility for new business development and global client service. Holland Carney, who was co-president with Moreland and head of the San Francisco office, is leaving the firm but will continue to serve as a consultant to the tech practice.
According to Ogilvy chairman and CEO Bob Seltzer, “The economic reality out there is very clear. I can’t imagine anyone who is heavily involved in the technology sector who is not making this kind of difficult decision right now. What we did was to go through the network and remove any areas where we felt we had duplicate offerings.”
He says the agency’s leadership spent a lot of time thinking about the future of the technology sector and decided to focus heavily on infrastructure clients. Last year, he says, Ogilvy had more than 100 dot-com clients, many of which either stopped breathing or scaled back their public relations efforts considerably. One major client, WebMD, recently opted to take its PR in-house.
Seltzer sees some advantages in the new structure: “It will allow us to fully integrate our teams globally and facilitate client access to all of the experience across the agenct. Our staff will have increased opportunities for seamless movement across the 46 markets where we have a presence.”
In addition to Moreland’s promotion and Carney’s departure, other significant changes include the appointment of Amy Messenger to managing director of Ogilvy PR in Denver, and the promotion of Kate Messenger to joint head of the San Francisco office, alongside Rob Mathias. The tech practice will report to Messenger, with other groups reporting to Mathias. Genna Keller has been promoted to managing director of Alexander Ogilvy in Atlanta.