Staffing Cuts Hit MRY’s Seattle, San Francisco Offices

By Patrick Coffee 

Publicis social media/production shop MRY has made another series of layoffs at its West Coast offices following the loss of the Visa and T-Mobile accounts.

MRY opened its Seattle operation after winning T-Mobile, but we learned earlier this week that the client declined to renew its contract after one year, instead splitting its social media account between influencer agency The Laundry Shop and WPP strategy/production shop Swift. That post followed news that Visa, another large MRY client, had decided to consolidate its social and digital work with creative AOR BBDO.

These two losses led to a wave of layoffs in New York that included double-digit departures in terms of both headcount and percentage of staff affected. Today we have learned that the latest round of downsizing hit MRY’s Seattle and Bay Area offices last week.


MRY West’s head of strategy Shauna Axton and managing director Kingsley Taylor departed before this wave hit, with the latter heading to Omnicom’s Organic. Project director Michelle Excell also departed in December to go freelance; sources close to the matter tell us that she left due to frustration with the job.

The agency did not have a statement on this latest news but did tell us that both offices will remain open for the time being, contrary to tips we have received over the past week.

The teams in both locations are considerably smaller than those at MRY New York. In San Francisco, the shop shares a space with Publicis’ LEVEL and a McCann property, and we hear that the total numbers of staffers on the MRY team there is currently in the single digits.

The Seattle office opened late last year, when CMO David Berkowitz told us that MRY West would be expanding from 5 to 30 people in order to handle Visa, Microsoft, T-Mobile and other unnamed accounts.

The precise status of that location is unclear, though all current open positions at MRY (including creative director) are based in New York.

While T-Mobile did recently end its relationship with MRY, it did take at least one staffer along: longtime MRY employee Vinny Squillace, who had worked with the agency since 2010 and recently served as associate director of brand development became social media marketing manager at T-Mobile earlier this month.

In other gossip, we hear that one unnamed MRY executive who recently departed entered a decidedly different sort of industry: he/she allegedly left advertising altogether to join the circus.

UPDATE: We can’t verify the comment below, but it would appear that someone was looking for opportunities to promote himself and his side projects.