Merkley Cuts Staff After Lipitor Loss

NEW YORK Merkley + Partners has eliminated about a dozen positions largely to compensate for the loss of Pfizer’s Lipitor business, the Omnicom Group agency confirmed.

Roughly half the cuts were achieved through layoffs; the rest involved closing out vacant jobs. The cuts equated to roughly 5 percent of the New York agency’s total staff, which is estimated at 260.

Lipitor, with billings of $60-80 million, is still in review, but the New York client eliminated Merkley 2 1/2 months ago in an earlier round [Adweek Online, Sept. 22]. At that time, the shop was put on 90-day notice; the notice period expires this month.

Merkley, whose clients include Mercedes-Benz, Prevacid and Smith Barney, is a finalist in the $10-12 million review of Axa Equitable, along with Omnicom’s Doremus and Publicis Groupe’s Publicis, both in New York [Adweek Online, Nov. 18.]. Final presenations are slated for early January.