Verizon Loss Leads to More Staffing Changes at Erwin Penland

By Patrick Coffee 

Once again, Verizon’s ongoing consolidation of its agency roster has led to some employees losing their jobs.

We’ve received a number of tips today regarding layoffs at Erwin Penland, which had worked on the sponsorship/entertainment side of the business for some time. We can confirm that a round of departures did occur this week. A statement via the agency’s PR firm:

“Today’s staff cuts are the result of an agency reorganization. While we remain full service, these changes will transform the agency to allow us to focus our offering more around content and experience, which will better position us for the needs of our clients in the future.”

The translation is that Verizon has shifted more/all of the work away from Erwin Penland following its decision in March to move “most” of the business to IPG’s Momentum Worldwide.

The agency had to downsize after that move in April, when CMO/chief client officer/former Verizon executive Joe Saracino spoke to us to give the news a bit more context.

He hasn’t responded to our emails this time, but our sources do have some details:

  • The layoffs hit New York and Greenville, South Carolina
  • The total number of employees affected is in the 40-50 range
  • At least eight staffers are no longer with the New York office
  • Two of those dismissed in Manhattan were SVPs in the creative department
  • This is the third round of layoffs over the past year that can be tied directly to the Verizon account

ICYMI, Verizon’s most recent change concerned its wireless business, which finally went from mcgarrybowen to McCann after the company teased at such a move for several months. A source told us that this was a “natural progression” of sorts that had been in the works for nearly a year.

Regarding this latest expansion of Verizon’s relationship with IPG, a holding company spokesperson writes:

“McCann’s deepened relationship with the client now includes Wireless, retail and B2B assignments, so a more integrated model makes sense and resources are being shifted among certain agencies to maximize the effectiveness of the solutions Worldgroup delivers to Verizon.”

One thing is clear: this is one hell of a client.