Arnold: No More Cuts

Arnold anticipates no further layoffs across its agency network in the near term, according to Ed Eskandarian, agency chairman and CEO. Forty staffers were dismissed from Arnold’s headquarters here last week.

Arnold executives confirmed the layoffs—roughly 6-8 percent of the agency’s Boston staff—on all levels and in all departments. Sources said as many as 75 people were let go, but Arnold executives called that figure an exaggeration.

The weak economy and recent spending cuts by the Massachusetts Office of Public Health’s Tobacco Control Program precipitated the moves, Arnold executives said.

Industry watchers said Arnold, a unit of French conglomerate Havas, was essentially forced into cutting staff now because the cuts it made in 2001 were overly humane in light of harsh economic realities. Eskandarian, who is known for his patient and compassionate leadership style, insisted Arnold has consis tently made appropriate staffing decisions.

Arnold last year axed perhaps 50-75 employees nationwide (less than 5 percent of its overall workforce at the time ) through layoffs and the closing of Cipriani Kremer Design.

The Boston office has been mired in a lengthy new-business slump, but Arnold president Fran Kelly pointed to gains in other outposts as proof that the organization’s pitch machine is well greased, regardless of which regional office scores the wins.

Last week, Arnold added an estimated $20-25 million in combined business from the Bermuda Tour ism, HealthNow/Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and Royal LePage in its New York, McLean, Va., and Toronto offices, respectively.