World’s Largest Ad Agency Group WPP Announces a Massive Restructuring

December 11, 2018, 2:18 PM UTC

WPP, the worlds largest holding company for advertising and PR agencies, has been in trouble for some time, culminating in the loss of major clients and a 40% drop in market value, according to Reuters. Now a new CEO has unveiled his turnaround plans: new creative staff and major cost cutting, including office shutdowns and layoffs.

As many as 3,500 employees out of 134,000 in 110 countries will be shown the door, although WPP’s agencies will hire another 1,000 to boost senior management. “WPP has become too unwieldy, with too much duplication,” CEO Mark Read told the wire service. “It is not always as focused or as fleet of foot as it needs to be to satisfy the needs of all our clients around the globe.”

WPP owns such storied agencies as J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy. The changes are expected to cost about $377 million and begin saving $345 a year by 2021.

The company had warned of problems last year as large clients focused on cutting advertising costs, according to The Independent. Big advertisers were also taking more work inside, the Financial Times reported.

Previous CEO Sir Martin Sorrell found himself forced out in April 2018 after allegations of personal misconduct that involved financial dealings. In October, WPP lost the Ford Motor account, which it had for decades.

Reuters noted that WPP hopes to regain single-digit growth rates of competitors Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe, and Interpublic Group (IPG) by 2021.