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‘Workforce Reduction’ at Razorfish


Razorfish will announce more cuts to its global staff today.

Following March’s dismissal of 20-30 North American employees and another round of cuts in July that involved what tipsters told us was a total of approximately 100 individuals, an agency spokesperson confirmed that more staffers have been let go today. The internal announcement, according to a reader, will happen right around the time this post goes live. Here’s the official statement:

In an effort to shape our organization to align with our clients’ progressing needs, we have made a workforce reduction. The adjustment impacts less than 2% of our global headcount and will reinforce Razorfish’s ability to enable business transformation, which has been a primary source of our growth. Razorfish brings intelligence together with technology, media and creative to drive our clients’ business forward. We remain focused on delivering best-in-class work for our clients and are looking forward to playing a major role in the recently announced Razorfish Global Network.

Neither PR nor readers gave us more details on the cuts, and based on the agency’s own Wikipedia page (which is apparently “written like an advertisement“), that 2 percent amounts to approximately 40 staffers at locations not specified in the quote above.

As a reminder, news from the Razorfish team hasn’t all been negative. The agency hired Michael Chamberlain, formerly of BBDO, to run its San Francisco office less than a month ago, and recent employee reviews note its “really positive working atmosphere.

No updates on clients, campaigns, or the reason for this adjustment.

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Deb Boyda Appointed as Razorfish’s Central Region President

3d4fe0dRazorfish has appointed Deb Boyda as president of its central region, based in Chicago, MediaPost reports.

Boyda will report directly to Razorfish North America CEO Shannon Denton in her new role, effective September 2nd. She will be responsible for overseeing profitablity and growth in the Chicago and Austin offices, as well as directing the region’s client base, which includes Kraft, Citi Retail Services and Car2Go.

Boyda arrives at Razorfish from Beam Global Spirits & Wine, where she served as vice president and general manager. During her three year stint at the company, she was responsible for marketing top Beam brands, including Skinnygirl, Courvoisier and Pinnacle. Prior to Beam, she served as president of brand group Interplay Ideas for almost four years and vice president, content for Miller Brewing Company for two. She last worked on the agency side as a managing partner of Ogivly & Mather from 2004-2006, where she led the team on Dove’s award-winning “Real Beauty” campaign. The Harvard graduate began her career at Euro RSCG, where she stayed for 13 years and worked her way up to managing partner before leaving to become senior vice president at Leo Burnett. Read more

UPDATE: Layoffs at Razorfish North America


The tips have been pouring in this week, and they all tell of staffing changes at Razorfish North America.

Several tips claim that 20 to 25 staffers have been dismissed from the agency’s Chicago office alone.

Others report layoffs at the agency’s Atlanta and West Coast offices, listing the total of North American employees dismissed at 100.

On the plus side: one tipster claims that, while confirming the downsizing, the agency’s CEO also announced that employees will receive merit-based pay increases on August 1st.

UPDATED: This morning the agency released a statement:

“Like most companies, flexes in business require us to realign in order to accommodate the evolving needs of our clients. The recent workforce reduction represents less than 3% of our global headcount. We remain committed to sourcing world-class talent and further strengthening our capabilities to deliver business transformation. Our immediate focus is ensuring we continue to provide the best services possible to our existing clients and new accounts such as Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Car2Go.”

Former McCann ECD Natalie Lam Joins Razorfish New York

Natalie LamToday we learned, via press release, that agency veteran Natalie Lam has landed at Razorfish New York as Executive Creative Director.

Lam most recently served as ECD at McCann Erickson, which hired her away from OgilvyOne Shanghai; earlier in her career, she earned attention from McCann for working on the Nike+ account at R/GA. She also recently held the jury chair spot at the Art Directors Club.

Patrick Frend, president of Razorfish’s eastern division, writes:

“We are fortunate enough to work with clients who understand the value of creativity and the pivotal role digital plays in business transformation. Natalie brings a global perspective and a passion for her craft that can take these experiences and our clients to the next level.”

Lam led IKEA at Erickson; at her new gig she will handle clients like Mercedes and UNIQLO.

It’s a Four-Shop Race to Fill Honda’s Digital Needs


American Honda Motor Company works hard to keep up with the competition but hasn’t been quite so successful in the hybrid space. Honda’s Prius equivalent may have been called The Insight, but the company recently pitted all three major holding companies against one another in the search for a bit more of that key noun.

Other campaigns have gone viral (shout out to Michael Bolton) and, according to AdWeek, Honda spends approximately $50 million on digital advertising each year.

Now who’s competing for that money?

Read more

Publicis Groupe Wants to Manage Your Phone Plan


…or something like that

Here’s a very curious tip we received from at least one source at Razorfish: employees are now required to use parent company Publicis Groupe‘s phone plan to access all work emails and calendars.

Essentially, the message is: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan…unless you want to do work stuff. Then you’re gonna need either a new corporate plan or a new phone.”

Full email after the jump.

Read more

Creative Director Kate McCagg Joins Havas New York

Kate McCaggThis morning we confirmed that Kate McCagg, most recently creative director at Razorfish, has left Portland for New York and a CD spot on the Havas Worldwide roster.

An agency spokesperson confirmed that McCagg started at Havas last week and that she is “partnering with Monica Escobar to lead Ritz (Mondelez) and working across other accounts as well.”

The official statement from Havas CCO Darren Moran:

“Kate is a thoroughly modern creative director. She’s a thinker and a maker. A writer and a lover of design. A humanist and a tech geek. Half of her career has been spent at ‘traditional’ shops, half at a digital agency. So she can do a lot and do it well, which makes Havas the perfect place for Kate. We’re thrilled she’s joined us.”

Razorfish Responds to Layoff Rumors

razorfishHere’s Razorfish’s response to rumors that 20-30 employees were laid off last week:

“In order to ensure our clients continue to access best-in-breed services that operate at the intersection of technology, media and creative, we sometimes need to modify our staffing structure. Less than 2% of our North American staff was affected by the change. We continue to remain committed to recruiting new talent and skill sets in support of our clients’ ever-evolving needs.”

We Hear: Is Brian Wallace Out at Motorola?

Brian-Wallace We’ve reached out to the Motorola camp on multiple tries and haven’t succeeded but sources tell that Brian Wallace, who joined the Google-owned company barely a year ago, is no longer there. Here is one of several comments we’ve received: “Razorfish took on Motorola when Brian Wallace went there, while still working on Samsung. They did the Motorola work under the name Digitas (and still are).  Media planning/buying is being done by the real Digitas (NYC office) but the rest is Razorfish Chicago and Austin. Some key individuals were working on both at the same time [names redacted]. Samsung was not happy about this. Legal got involved. Went on for a while; Razorfish knew that Samsung would wind down the biz and move on, and it was so.”

Oy, if you recall, Wallace’s relationship with Razorfish dates back a few years, during the time he worked at RIM and served as VP/global digital marketing and media for the latter brand. Prior to his most recent gig, Wallace served in a similar VP/strategic marketing role at Samsung.

Here’s More on Samsung/Motorola/Razorfish


Yeesh, this story will not cease, and the tipster onslaught continues. To add a little bit more color if you will to yesterday’s story about Samsung/Razorfish/Motorola, we’ve got this word from a source in the know. We forgot to mention that Brian Wallace‘s relationship with the agency extends back to his Blackberry days at RIM, where he spent well over a decade and last served as VP/global digital marketing and media.

Once again, we will keep the other parties’ involved name redacted but we have received several tips about this. Here’s the first allegation: “I was part of the Denuo team on Samsung. The only firewall was that we worked on different floors. In many cases, Blackberry people would pitch in on the Samsung work. [Redacted] knew, his former employer didn’t. I heard the same thing happened again with Motorola (I still have buddies there).”

Along with being told that this was “common practice” at the agency, we’ve been told that employees have not only been given two business cards in order to promote both the GS4 and the Moto X “within days of each other,” From what we’ve heard from those in the know it was one card for Razorfish and the other at fellow Publicis Groupe-based shop, Digitas/Denuo. These tips are getting too numerous to accumulate. If you recall, Samsung just hired Razorfish over a year ago to work as the brand’s digital AOR.