JWT Terms Layoffs Start of Restructuring

CHICAGO Just days before new president Barry Krause joins J. Walter Thompson, the agency terminated 18 employees, about 10 percent of the office’s total workforce.

“Rather than make the cuts reactive and negative, we have used this as an opportunity to begin to restructure,” said Bob Jeffrey, JWT’s North America president, in an internal memo to staffers yesterday. “The goal is less process, more responsiveness to our clients and a better creative product,” the memo stated.

The Chicago office has had its share of troubles. It lost an assignment on its flagship client Kraft Foods to Foote, Cone & Belding last year, and was only partially successful in defending its Miller Genuine Draft business, which it now shares with fellow WPP shop Ogilvy & Mather.

Krause’s job is to get the shop back on track and expand business with current and new clients [Adweek, Feb. 10].