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Ogilvy offers all UK staff voluntary redundancy in effort to 'reshape' business


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

October 30, 2018 | 3 min read

All staff at Ogilvy UK have been offered voluntary redundancy as part of the agency's radical restructuring drive. Employees have been issued a deadline of Friday (2 November) to apply.

Top team: Nina Jasinski, Michael Frohlich, John Cornwell, Ann Higgins and Clare Lawson

The agency has undergone a period of flux - including the appointment of a fresh leadership team promoted from within

The news was broken to staff at a company meeting on Monday (29 October) in which they were told they had until the end of this week to apply. A source within the agency told The Drum that if the volume of opt-ins is too low, the company may be forced into compulsory redundancies.

The Drum asked Ogilvy about the number of redundancies it is seeking and what will happen if those numbers are not met, but at the time of publication the agency had not yet issued a reply.

In a wider statement issued to the press, Ogilvy UK attributed the redundancies to its "transformation" strategy which has seen it dismantle sub-brands such as Ogilvy & Mather, Ogilvy One and Ogilvy Public Relations in order to reshape itself as one combined agency.

John Cornwell, chief operations officer, said: "This offer of voluntary redundancy is the final stage in Ogilvy UK's transformation journey. Our intent is to be as transparent as possible and provide our people with choices as we continue to reshape our business for the future."

The announcement follows on from Ogilvy PR boss Michael Frohlich being elevated to chief executive in February, after which he took the lead on a “radical restructure of the agency” to bring it all under a single P&L. The push for voluntary redundancies factors into those efforts.

The agency has undergone a period of flux - including the appointment of a fresh leadership team promoted from within - following the departure of long-time leader Annette King who was named as Publicis UK chief executive in 2017.

The business has also seen the departure of a number of senior staff including: chief strategy officer Kevin Chesters; chief creative officers Mick Mahoney and Emma de la Fosse; Charlie Rudd who was chief client officer and chief production officer Clare Donald.

According to its own website, Ogilvy UK employees 1200 people.

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