Barkley Goes Through ‘Staffing Adjustment’ Following News of Applebee’s Review

By Erik Oster 

Barkley went through a “staffing adjustment” this month. Multiple parties claim the agency parted with around 15-20 employees, including executive vice president and former Sprint executive Mike Goff, who came aboard in December of 2015.

An agency spokesperson confirmed that the agency did let some team members go earlier this month. “The January staffing adjustment did not result in a declining headcount,” the spokesperson said, stating that Barkley hired more employees than it let go this month and it continues to “aggressively” recruit for creative and strategy position. The agency spox declined to elaborate on specifics but described the changes as “more of a realignment” focused on “getting the right people in the building.”

These adjustments follow last month’s news that Applebee’s would be looking for a new creative partner after one year with the Kansas City shop. (Barkley handled in-store and menu design work for the chain before winning lead creative duties, and it will retain that portion of the business moving forward.) Crossroads, Barkley’s PR division, also lost the Applebee’s account to Cohn & Wolfe last May after working on it for three years.


The creative review is ongoing.

According to the agency spokesperson, revenue and headcount have been up at Barkley in recent months despite changes in its relationships with both Applebee’s and Take 5.

At least one source claims that the staffing changes were performance-based and not directly related to the Applebee’s business.