Edelman lays off 7% of global workforce, salary cuts up to 20%

Global PR agency Edelman will be reducing its global workforce by approximately 390 people, which is less than 7% of its global team. It will also be asking for salary reductions from 5% to 20% which will be scaled by employee compensation level. 

In a memo seen by Marketing, Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman said the agency is no longer able to sustain its business without layoffs, furloughs, reduced work weeks and additional compensation reductions of mostly senior people scaled by salary level. Edelman has currently about 24 offices in APAC with more than 1,500 employees, while it has over 60 offices globally. Marketing has reached out for additional information regarding its APAC workforce. Some of the clients the agency worked with are Dove, KFC, HSBC and Unilever. 

The staff cut comes three months after Edelman said there will be no job losses due to the COVID-19 situation in March. According to media reports, the change in decision comes as the management had to consider the long-term health of the agency. As of February, Edelman was on track to do 2% growth, even with COVID-19 impacting some markets in Asia. In March, its business was operating at an 11% margin. According to the memo, the agency is currently operating at a slight net loss and its cash reserves are being used to offset slower receivables.

Earlier in April, Edelman appointed Jasmine Bahen as its chief talent officer for Asia Pacific. In her role Bahen is tasked to oversee all aspects of Edelman's talent and human resources strategy for the Asia Pacific region, helping drive the culture, engagement, and performance of employees for its clients. She will report to Marie-Claire Barker, Edelman's global chief talent officer. The agency has also appointed Rebecca Boustead as executive vice president for food & beverage, Asia Pacific. Boustead will be responsible for capability building, client advisory, and new business development. 

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