Wag-Ed Slashes Global Workforce By 5% After Microsoft Reorg
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Wag-Ed Slashes Global Workforce By 5% After Microsoft Reorg

Waggener Edstrom has laid off 43 people — or five percent of its global workforce — in part, because of Microsoft's recent reorganization.

Aarti Shah

SEATTLE — Waggener Edstrom has laid off 43 people — or five percent of its global workforce — in part, because of Microsoft’s recent reorganization.

Wag-Ed SVP of corporate communications Scott Mclaughlin attributed the reductions, which spanned junior level employees to SVPs, to four drivers.

The first is Microsoft’s ongoing reorganization, which has resulted in budget reductions, calling for cuts to both the account and ancillary teams, like insights & analytics.

“We have a long partnership with Microsoft and we adapt with them as they grow change and change,” Mclaughlin said.

Thirty-three of those laid off were in the Pacific Northwest, while 10 were spread across offices in the US and Asia-Pacific. He declined to break out the specific offices that experienced layoffs or the number that were directly related to Microsoft.

Other layoffs also were related to Wag-Ed's plans to launch a new insights tool that automates certain tasks the firm previously handled manually. The tool is currently in pilot stages and is expected to launch in the coming months.

The reductions were also caused by underperforming businesses and better aligning agency capabilities with demand, he added.

He also noted that Wag-Ed expects to continue growing and has not changed its financial goals for the year, but declined to cite those targets.

“It’s not like we’re having a hiring freeze,” Mclaughlin said. “We have open recs that we’re actively looking to fill.”

In 2012, Wagg Ed’s global revenue was $118.5 million, up by about 2.3 percent on 2011 -- its US revenues accounted for slightly more than $100 million and grew by less than one percent last  year. Its global headcount in 2012 was 939 employees across 20 offices.

In addition to Microsoft, its clients include HTC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shire, Texas Instruments, T-Mobile and Abbott/Abbvie.

Mclaughlin estimates this is one of “a few” rounds of layoffs that Wag-Ed has conducted in its 30 years.

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