Interbrand has embarked on a series of cost-cutting measures in the UK that has so far resulted in nearly 10 per cent of its staff taking voluntary redundancy or jobs in other parts of the group.
Chief executive officer Rita Clifton confirms that staff at Interbrand have been asked to consider a variety of options, including pay cuts, sabbaticals, voluntary redundancy and moves to another office.
“We are asking people to consider a range of measures as ways of managing and controlling costs,” Clifton says. “The group as a whole is doing extremely well and is meeting budgets. In the UK we are trying to respond to economic pressures.”
Clifton attributes the consultancy’s woes to the effects of economic uncertainty and to the collapse of international mergers and acquisitions activity, which means the subsequent collapse of identity work.
She dismisses talk of Interbrand’s forecasted revenue for the next quarter being down by a third. “It is nowhere near that figure,” she asserts, but refuses to divulge the correct amount.
Clifton also refuses to comment on the percentage pay cuts that board directors and directors have been asked to consider, which are ten and five per cent respectively, according to industry sources. “It would be breaching confidential conversations [to comment]. The cuts are commensurate with what people are earning and the level of cost controlling,” she says.
“It is never a jolly thing to do. We are trying to be as responsible, open and honest as possible with staff and to involve them in discussions and offer them a range of measures,” she adds.
Two months ago Interbrand axed its 3D design unit with the loss of three jobs (DW 17 May).
According to Design Week’s Top 100, Interbrand is the UK’s fifth largest consultancy and employed 260 people last year.