D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles is sharpening the ax to slice its New York staff of 400 by about half, sources said last week. It was unclear if the Los Angeles or Detroit offices would be affected.
The cuts are expected to begin this week as part of Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy's plans to get the oper ation in shape before Jan. 1. Remaining staffers will be moved to other Publicis-owned shops. Decisions on the transition of D'Arcy clients such as Procter & Gamble, Pfizer and Heineken are slated to be made by Nov. 18.
Some 200 New York staffers are expected to be let go. Sources said layoffs will occur in L.A. before it is rebranded as Publicis. Detroit will become a division of Leo Burnett.
Susan Gianinno, chief branding officer at D'Arcy, who will become CEO of Publicis USA once her current agency is dissolved, said reports of layoffs are "groundless."
"Our single-minded goal is to suc cess fully transition great cli ents and great people to the new environment. There are no layoffs planned at the moment," she said.
However, one source said, "If you're not tied to a client, you're history."
Sources said co-ecd Graham Woodall will not make the cut. The fate of New York president Lance Smith could not be determined at press time. Gianinno would not comment on their status.
A source said employees with contracts will be paid the remainder of their salaries. Others will get a minimum of four weeks' severance.
Worldwide chief creative officer Lee Garfinkel met with Lévy last week about taking the Publicis worldwide creative job. Sources said he was still mulling whether to accept.