SAN FRANCISCO – In what some observers are seeing as the beginning of an overhaul of Hal Riney & Partners under the direction of its new president Tony Houghton and new national creative director Joe O’Neill, the firm last week instituted a round of lay-offs that pared more than five percent of the staff nationally and included the firing of several long-time employees. In all, 20 of the company’s 330-person staff were fired, with the ax falling hardest in San Francisco, where 13 people were let go. Three were fired in Chicago and four were let go in N.Y. The action follows a string of failures to win new business as existing accounts at the firm have shrunk or stayed at fixed levels. Houghton said the action was necessary because the agency had spent too high a percentage of its money on salaries and that in March it became clear that the cuts would have to be made. He said the firm delayed doing so in the hopes of winning the $40 million Sears apparel account, for which the agency was a finalist.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)
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