Chiat chief operations officer Adelaide Hotton, confirmed that the agency last week laid off five creatives and dissolved its three-person print production department. In addition, senior vp Steve Friedman, most recently on the MTV account after running the Reebok account for years, also resigned, said Horton.
The cuts come as MTV:Music Television takes creative in-house, although Chiat will continue to buy media for the cable channel.
Horton said the staff reductions were not prompted by the MTV loss, but instead were directly related to the arrival of creative director Marty Cooke, who came over from Chiat's London office within the last month.
"This has to do with a new creative director coming in and making some changes," she said.
At the same time, Chiat is hiring three creatives. One is Peter McHugh, creative director at Young & Rubicam/Chicago, who will soon join Chiat as a top creative on the Reebok account working alongside David Angelo. McHugh will replace Ty Montague, who's moved over to the NYNEX business. Meanwhile, Chiat creative guru Lee Clow is said to be spending more time working on the $60 million Reebok account at the request of the client.
"It's a matter of getting all the right people on all the right accounts," said a source.
Horton said some of the layoffs stem from Chiat's reevaluation of its entire production department as well as other areas. "We want to do (production) differently than we (have) in the past," she said, declining to elaborate.
Still, Chiat appears to be undergoing a deeper metamorphosis. "It's part of a reorganization, a re-building," said one source. "It's all part of getting Chiat/Day back on track. There's been too much turmoil."
Sources said Jay Chiat has issued a mandate to create an "agency of the future" model and has charged his top-level associates with devising a blueprint. A task force in L.A. is already working on the project and a team in New York is expected to tackle the issue next month.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)