Buffeted Frankel Trims Sails

Frankel has slimmeddown. The Chicago-based promotions shop will position itself as an agency that offers more “cost-effective” services through a structure that eliminates layers of administration and redundancies, its chairman and CEO said.

The agency was restructured in an attempt to streamline its internal operation, in part by combining departments and forming larger, more flexible client groups, said CEO Jim Mack. A second goal was to place greater focus on strategic planning, Mack said.

The changes were largely driven by necessity—Frankel lost its key Frito-Lay business late last year when the client consolidated at Tracy Locke Partnership in Dallas. The dollar loss was not disclosed, but Frankel’s revenues will be down for 2001, Mack acknowledged.

As part of the restructuring and because of Frito-Lay’s departure, 100 employees were laid off. Combined with a couple rounds of layoffs last year, the staff is down about 20 percent from a year ago.

Frankel parent Publicis did not order the changes, but agency executives knew something had to be done to strengthen its bottom line. The shop scored one major win last year when it was tapped to lead a $125 million effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help preteens become more physically fit.

Beyond the CDC win, new business has been scarce, and the government account was not enough to offset the loss of Frito-Lay and cutbacks by other clients such as United Airlines.

Frankel’s president and chief operating officer, Dan Rose, resigned earlier this month. His duties were assumed by Mack, who also took the chairman’s title. Agency founder Bud Fran-kel was named chairman emeritus.

As part of the restructuring, the agency created a new position for Pam Church, who will be evp of insights and ideas. Two client groups will be supervised by svps Kathy Hartman and Eric Rosenthal.

Taking over Frankel’s creative operations as evp and chief creative officer is Bill Rose, formerly principal of integral marketing and creative. Brian Robinson previously held the post.