Dentsu International is first ad holding company to announce across-the-board job losses

Dentsu International is the first of the big ad holding companies to announce company-wide post-pandemic job losses. The company, formerly Dentsu Aegis Network which operqtes outside Dentsu’s homeland Japan, will cull around 6000 jobs, 12.5% of the workforce.

Dentsu says: “We believe integrating our business around the consumer is the greatest advantage we can give our clients and the greatest competitive advantage we can give ourselves. We will do this by accelerating the transformation journey we started last year to simplify further how we operate, delivering even greater agility through a focused portfolio of six global leadership brands with prioritized investment and resources in capabilities of high client demand and growth.”

When they cut back companies always attempt to put a positive sheen on it, in this case “integrating our business around the consumer” and giving clients a “competitive advantage.” How this tallies with lots of exits is, to say the least, unclear. Were these people doing nothing?

It’s hardly the canvas new boss Wendy Clark (above) must have expected when she decamped from DDB to join Dentsu. Dentsu International’s main business, outside creative agency Mcgarrybowen, is media planning and buying via Carat.

But the relentless rise of digital and its handmaiden programmatic is changing that business dramatically. Old-style traders like former Dentsu bosses Jerry Buhlmann and Nick Brien (once partners at media independent BBJ) are now ghosts from the past. Christian Juhl, the boss of rival GroupM, WPP’s giant media operation, said recently he saw GroupM’s future as a software company. Which, in the short term at least, means far fewer jobs.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.