BBH New York Goes Through Round of Executive-Level Layoffs After Sitting Out PlayStation Review

By Patrick Coffee 

The New York offices of Publicis Groupe’s BBH have parted with several individuals in leadership roles, an agency spokesperson confirmed today.

“We recently restructured our business to be more in line for today’s agile, highly-competitive environment,” read a statement provided by the representative. “Unfortunately, that required parting ways with some talented and valued team members. We are deeply thankful for all they have contributed to BBH and wish them well as we move forward.”

According to a party close to the agency, multiple executives lost their jobs this week, including the office’s heads of growth and technology, among others. The precise number of people affected is unclear, and BBH declined to provide additional detail or clarify whether any of the positions in question would be eliminated altogether.

This move follows two developments for BBH: a late-2018 restructuring of the New York team and a decision not to participate in the global Playstation review.

Last November, the agency announced that New York CEO Anthony Romano would be leaving and that his role would not be filled, with managing director Brett Edgar effectively taking over in his place. Global chief talent officer Niall Hadden said this was part of an effort to achieve a “less layered and more agile leadership structure.”

Later that month, news broke that Playstation had launched a global creative agency review earlier in the fall. It is of particular interest because, according to several parties familiar with the specifics of the process, the client seeks to build a roster of three or possibly four agencies that will proceed to compete against one another in “jump-ball” pitches for major campaigns while simultaneously working on their own ongoing projects. While the gaming giant may not be the very first client to take this approach, it remains somewhat unusual.

It is not clear at this time why BBH declined to participate. R3, the consultancy running the review, did not immediately respond to a request for updates.

The source who tipped us off to these changes also indicated that budgeting concerns may have played a role in the decision.

BBH is currently locked in a legal and public relations battle with the actors union SAG-AFTRA after opting out of its contract last year. Earlier this week, the union sent out an email blast criticizing BBH client Brighthouse Financial for allegedly using non-union talent in a recent commercial shoot.

A court hearing in the dispute should take place in coming weeks.