DDB Unilever Global Business Director, Chief People Officer Among Those Agency Laid Off

By Erik Oster 

DDB confirmed that global business director for Unilever, Mark Mulhern, and chief people officer, North America Britt Hayes were among those laid off by the agency as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s business impact. DDB declined to comment further.

Mulhern became global business director for Unilever in November, after previously serving as CEO for We Are Unlimited, Omnicom’s dedicated agency for McDonald’s. We Are Unlimited was reportedly folded into DDB Chicago last year, while retaining its name, in the wake of McDonald’s naming Wieden + Kennedy as its lead creative agency last September.

Hayes joined DDB North America as its first chief people officer in 2017, following a little over a year as executive director, creative management. She previously spent around five years with JWT as director of creative management and head of creative talent.


The news follows DDB Chicago going through a round of layoffs impacting around 30 employees across all departments last week.

“Covid-19 has had a profound impact on our clients, our people and our partners across industries. We took several actions, including but not limited to salary and hour adjustments, furloughs, infrastructure changes and lastly, after every cost-cutting measure, we have also had to lay some people off,” DDB U.S. president and COO Paul Gunning said in a statement at the time. “These are times unlike any we’ve ever seen, and I am deeply committed to making every effort to get us through this and come out stronger.”

DDB’s actions follow Omnicom CEO John Wren outlining a series of measures that would be taken across Omnicom agencies last Tuesday, including layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions. The move also follows a round of layoffs at BBDO last Friday, including New York CCO Greg Hahn and director of integrated production David Rolfe.

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