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Salvati Cuts Staff After Bank Loss

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COSTA MESA, CALIF. - Salvati Montgomery Sakoda, the largest independent ad agency in Orange County, laid off 10 staffers here as one of its accounts, the $7-million Valley National Bank of Arizona, prepares to consolidate with its new parent, Banc One Corp. of Ohio.
The layoffs, together with three recent resignations, bring Salvati's employee roster to 52.
The loss will bring billings at the agency to $38 million. In February, advertising for Valley National will move to The Martin Agency/Richmond, Va., where the account will be consolidated with that of Banc One.
Salvati will continue to handle the Hispanic portion of the account, with billings of $500,000, through the end of the year.
'We've been feverishly trying to replace it,' said Scott Montgomery, executive vp/creative director of the agency, 'but we've had a tough time for the last five or six months trying.'
The agency exec became aware that the account would move last April, when the acquisition was announced. 'We really wanted to hold onto the people as long as we could,' Montgomery said. Though the agency is currently involved in two new business pitches, Montgomery said the economic climate in Orange County has made it difficult to replace the lost billings.
The layoffs were in virtually all departments except creative.
The resignations at SMS include an account executive who had been based in Phoenix to handle the agency's Dimension Cable account, an art director and a vice president in the Costa Mesa office. Montgomery said the agency has not yet decided whether those positions would be replaced.
According to Montgomery, this is the second time in 11 years that the advertising agency has been forced to downsize.
Salvati's other accounts include International House of Pancakes, PacTel Cellular, Yamaha Electronics and Scripto Pens.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)