HackerAgency Loses AT&T, Lays Off 50% of Staff, and Leaves the IPG Network

By Patrick Coffee Comment

Today IPG confirmed that it had divested itself from HackerAgency, which is now no longer part of the Interpublic network after 18 years.

The news first ran on Adweek.

According to one party who spoke to us, the decision came because the Seattle-based direct marketing company’s “core competency is not aligned” with IPG’s goals. It also follows the gradual loss of HackerAgency’s largest client, AT&T, over the course of several months.

CEO Spyro Kourtis provided the following statement:

“[I’m] confirming that while Hacker Group has had a great partnership with IPG and FCB over the years, we’re excited to bring the power of our re-established independence to our clients, driving business results through modern, innovative marketing solutions. Clients are increasingly demanding agile agency resources and talent that focus on performance and are willing to put skin in the game. We believe being an independent is the best way to do this, unburdened by the complexities of a holding company network.”

Regarding AT&T, he acknowledge that the changing relationship, partly caused by the DirecTV acquisition, damaged the agency:

“We’re proud of the partnership we have shared [with AT&T] and wish our clients the best of success. Having to say goodbye to friends and colleagues is never easy. We remain optimistic for the road ahead as we strike out independently and allow our data-driven heritage and CRM specialization to shine.”

Multiple current and former agency employees tell a slightly different story.

According to 5 different sources, the agency laid off around 50 percent of its staff in Seattle last week, including North American president Julie Rezek, formerly of Wunderman. One source says recent events came about due to a “failure to modernize.”

HackerAgency will now operate as an independent company. The three international FCB offices that merged with what was then called Hacker Group to form HackerAgency in 2014, however, will remain within the IPG network.