UPDATE: Arnold Goes Through a Round of Layoffs in Boston and New York Following Account Losses

By Erik Oster 

Arnold Worldwide has gone through a series of layoffs in the past month which appear to have impacted 32 employees at the agency’s Boston and New York offices.

“We can confirm recent staff adjustments. These changes are necessary to adapt and align our business with the ever-changing market landscape, as many others in our industry are doing,” an agency spokesperson said. “We continue to prioritize being the best partner to the Modern CMO and are invested in our staff moving forward.”

32 employees were impacted by the changes but the breakdown for each office remains unclear. An agency spokesperson declined to confirm that the changes impacted both offices, but according to multiple parties who reached out to us, an unspecified number of employees were terminated last month in New York and another wave of layoffs was announced last week.


Arnold’s staffing changes follow several recent account losses including Hershey and Carnival. The cruise line announced its plans to part ways with Arnold in May, launching a review that concluded with the selection of Anomaly as its creative agency of record in August. The review also included a digital component, and the winner of that portion of the business has yet to be announced. Hershey also announced in August that it was consolidating its creative work with MDC Partners. The Carnival contract recently ended, and Hershey will wrap up on January 1, 2018.

Multiple parties have also told us that Arnold will no longer work with Angie’s List, which signed with the agency last January as part of a brand refresh effort. Today a company representative said, “we are still evaluating our 2018 ad strategy and agency relationships.”

The future of the agency’s relationship with another client, KAO, seems unclear.

“Arnold and KAO have enjoyed a successful partnership since April 2014, working together on the John Frieda, Jergens and Curél brands. Since that time, the world of marketing has continued to evolve at rapid speed and we’ve decided to be more agile in our agency partnerships,” KAO senior vice president, regional executive officer, Americas and EMEA mass business Dave Muenz, Sr. said in a statement. “We have and may continue to partner with Arnold on a project basis.”

The agency spokesperson declined to comment on these accounts.

Arnold has gone through a series of executive-level changes this year, most prominently parting with chief creative officer Jim Elliott in March after executive director Barbara Reilly and SVP, marketing director and head of new business Michael Shonkoff left the previous month.

The Havas agency’s Boston headquarters began a new chapter over the summer, hiring Icaro Doria away from DDB to replace Elliott as its parent company shook up North American leadership. All creatives now report to Havas creative chairman and CEO Paul Marobella and U.S. creative chairman Jason Peterson.

One former Arnold executive described this month’s changes as a “big round” of layoffs while another current employee said the atmosphere is optimistic under Doria’s leadership. According to Mediapost, Arnold recently won creative duties for performance beverage brand Hotshot with Havas handling media.