Interbrand axes London staff

Interbrand has axed its UK director of brand valuation and UK marketing director amid a slew of redundancies at its London office.

The Omnicom-owned consultancy has made ten redundancies across design and client services, including its UK marketing director Deborah Fitzgerald, who was appointed last October, and its director of brand valuation for the UK, Jan Lindemann.

Interbrand denies that axing the position of director of brand valuation indicates a shift away from its strategic brand offering, and insists that brand valuation will remain a core competency for the group.

Rune Gustafson, chief executive of Interbrand, explains that Nik Stuky, who was appointed as head of global practice for brand valuation earlier this year, will now oversee brand valuation content and intellectual capital, working with Interbrand teams around the globe.

‘This is not at all a shift away from brand valuation – in fact, it’s an area where we’re seeing most interest from clients,’ insists Gustafson.

‘We are operating in uncertain times and it is very difficult to read the market. Some [areas of the UK market] are doing well, but others are seeing less activity, so in a sense there has been a slight imbalance in our business.

Some people who were brought in on contract have been let go early. It’s a recognition by a business that the market is uncertain and we need to manage things slightly differently,’ he adds.

The redundancies within Interbrand follow cuts at rival branding giant The Brand Union (DW 17 April), suggesting renewed caution in the UK branding and design market, and the increasing importance of emerging markets in delivering a steady flow of sizeable projects.

According to several industry sources, the major design and branding groups are realigning their teams to accommodate growing client lists in emerging markets including Russia, Eastern Europe, India and the Middle East. These markets are increasingly providing consistent work at a time when the UK market has reached saturation point and clients are tightening marketing budgets.

Last month, The Brand Union attributed high-level cuts to its London workforce to ‘more challenging’ conditions last year, while its redeployment of several staff to the Middle East was said to address growth in the region.

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