Planworks Makes 5% Staff Cut

NEW YORK Planworks, the unit of Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group that handles planning and buying chores for General Motors, has eliminated 25 positions — about 5 percent of it staff, the shop has confirmed.

The move comes three months after Planworks was restructured and integrated into the SMG operation. At the time, the shop said the restructuring was designed to give Planworks broader access to all of SMG’s resources. (Planworks had been a stand-alone unit since its 2000 formation.)

SMG said in a statement that the staffers affected by job count reduction were informed on May 30.

Commenting on the staff cuts, Laura Desmond, CEO of SMG The Americas, said, “It is always difficult to make these decisions. But we must also heed the evolving landscape, and we believe a streamlined model will allow us to make more strategic investments in the capabilities that are driving growth in [the auto] industry, including digital talent and tools, multicultural, consumer intelligence/research and innovative vendor partnership opportunities — assets that become increasingly vital to the success of all consumer connection plans.”

The staff cuts came after an internal assessment of the Planworks operating model in relation to the shifting media landscape and the automotive consumer’s evolving path to purchase, SMG said.

As a result of the evaluation, the shop said it needed to “redesign aspects of our talent structure in pursuit of a simplified, fine-tuned service model. This shift in emphasis will allow us to invest in stronger digital capabilities while also delivering accelerated growth and more efficient scale,” per SMG.

Shortly after the restructuring, Planworks veteran Dennis Donlin, who had overseen the operation as general manager, left and was replaced by Ken Taylor, previously an evp and group client leader at Starcom USA. Taylor is a 20-plus-year SMG veteran who helped launch Planworks in 2000 and spent four years at the Detroit-based unit before relocating to Chicago in 2004.