Initiative Layoffs Include Familiar Faces in L.A.

Two of the market’s most visible media executives were among 14 staffers laid off at Initiative Media North America last week.

Dot DiLorenzo, executive vice president and group account director, and Bruce Hoenig, executive vice president of print negotiations, were among those let go at Initiative headquarters in Los Angeles. Other staff reductions were felt at the agency’s Atlanta and New York offices.

Lou Schultz, Initiative Worldwide chairman and CEO, said the cuts were deemed necessary following the agency’s failure to meet expected figures for dot-com billings and revenue.

“It was a tough decision, as it always is when you’re dealing with human beings,” Schultz said. “We held off as long as we could. … We could see in midsummer that our fourth quarter dot-com business would be less than anticipated, and that new-business revenue would have to materialize [to offset the shortfall], so we wanted to hold off on changes.”

No additional layoffs are planned at this time, he said.

DiLorenzo, a fixture on the local ad scene, has held media director posts at the Southern California office of J. Walter Thompson and at local independent shop Kresser, Craig. She joined Initiative, then called Western International Media, in the mid-1990s. Hoenig, who had been with the media agency for over a decade, presided over one of the nation’s largest print buying operations.

Earlier this year, Initiative closed its creative services department and merged its account and planning groups as Schultz remade the nation’s first media buying service into his vision of a modern media agency.

Initiative Media North America does business through 20 offices, including full-service outposts and regional buying operations. The company employs more than 1,600 people in North America and 3,300 worldwide.