Big Changes Coming To WPP
During yesterday’s investor call WPP’s CEO Mark Read outlined a series of changes the world’s largest Holding Company would undertake as it looks to turn around its lagging business.
The headline everyone latched on to is WPP’s plan to eliminate 3,500 jobs globally, which is about 2.5% of their workforce. You could see this headcount reduction coming from a mile away, given that they’ve been merging legacy agencies together over the past month, including the newly formed VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson. With all that consolidation going on it’s easy to understand why they’d want to eliminate duplicative positions to save money. Still, it’s sad to see that many people in our industry lose their job.
If you look past the RIF there’s actually quite a bit to like in WPP’s pivot. One of the biggest positives is the plan integrate creative personnel into the actual account teams. “Clients won’t have to cross organizational silos for integration,” Read said. “They get everything they need from fewer and smaller companies.” WPP will also ingest 6,000 of its tech specialists directly into these teams, which should provide more of a one-stop shop for clients.
One interesting comment from yesterday’s call was Mr. Read’s admission that they need to develop more cooperative relationships with some of the largest data providers. “We can’t compete, sadly, against Google and Adobe on building technology,” Read said. “But we can integrate their systems to give us what we need.” At least he’s being honest with this.
It’ll be interesting to see how these changes play out at WPP and if it helps their business in the long run. It also makes you wonder if the other HoCos will follow their lead.