Mullen Cuts 5% in Boston HQ

In something of a surprise move given its recent new-business activity, Interpublic Group’s Mullen has cut roughly 15 employees this week, or 5 percent of its total Boston headquarters staff, per sources.

An agency representative declined comment.

The reduction, per sources, is designed to realign resources and put staffing more in line with the agency’s heightened focus on digital and social media.

All told, the agency employs 550 nationwide, mainly in Boston and Winston-Salem, N.C.

Both offices have won new accounts in recent weeks, with Winston-Salem picking up the $60 million Men’s Wearhouse assignment a few days ago and Krispy Kreme last week. The Winston-Salem office is currently a finalist for the Captain D’s restaurant chain.

Boston’s gains — notably Zappos and Swiss Army — have been modest. The office has been invited to compete for creative chores on Orbitz’s $60 million account, which it lost earlier this year to Trailer Park without a review.

Mullen’s HQ was dealt a blow today, coming up short in the review for creative on Citizens Bank’s $12-15 million account. Ogilvy & Mather won that assignment.

Like many of its brethren, Mullen endured several rounds of layoffs during the height of the economic downturn, but of late momentum has been swinging in the agency’s favor. The Zappos win, though worth just $7 million, was a particular coup, as it had been one of the most-watched reviews of the year for one of adland’s most desirable brands.

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