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Ogilvy UK says ‘less than 4%’ of staff have taken voluntary redundancy

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By Cameron Clarke | Editor

December 4, 2018 | 5 min read

Ogilvy UK says that “less than 4%” of its workforce have taken its offer of voluntary redundancy and it has now completed the process with those affected.

It was reported in October that the agency, which employs around 1,000 people in London, had given its entire staff the option of taking a redundancy package.

Today (4 December) the agency insisted that only staff in some parts of the business had been impacted but stopped short of releasing an exact figure.

Ogilvy's base at Sea Containers House

"Less than 4%" of staff will be leaving Ogilvy's base at Sea Containers, the agency said

"As planned we have completed a limited redundancy programme affecting less than 4% of our workforce in select areas of the organisation in the UK,” said chief executive Michael Frohlich.

“These actions are part of Ogilvy UK's transformation, as we focus on strengthening the agency for the future by investing in the areas that will bring the greatest value to our clients and support our own growth as a business.”

The Drum revealed on Monday that James Whatley, a long-serving member of staff who most recently served as planning partner, was one of those to have taken redundancy.

Reflecting on the end of his tenure at the agency, Whatley said: "If you've been following the stuff in the trades, we've been through it this year and after seven years, this felt like a natural inflection point; take time to re-assess the landscape and find a fresh challenge (more on that another time)."

Last week The Drum also broke the news that Lotte Jeffs was stepping down from the full-time creative director post she has held for less than a year. The former Elle deputy editor will continue to work with Ogilvy on a freelance basis on projects next year.

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The redundancies come at the end of a challenging year for Ogilvy UK which has been undergoing a radical restructure since Frohlich was named chief exec in February.

In an interview with The Drum in October, Frohlich admitted that the process of dissolving all of Ogilvy’s sub-brands – including Ogilvy & Mather, Ogilvy One and Ogilvy Public Relations – and unifying their teams into a single P&L had been “tough” going.

“As you can imagine, the move from what we were to what we are has been a huge change,” he said at the time. “For some people, they didn't want to operate in that way. And that's fine [but] we needed to move forward.”

Those to have departed this year include chief creative officer Mick Mahoney, chief strategy officer Kevin Chesters and chief client officer Charlie Rudd.

Ogilvy One chief executive Jo Coombs, group chief creative officer Emma de la Fosse and chief production officer Clare Donald also tendered their resignations.

In their place has come a new leadership team composed largely of staff promoted from within.

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