Puncture for Wheel employees

Wheel is to axe up to 50 per cent of its workforce just two months after it culled 70 staff, as the slowdown in e-business continues.

The digital media group, which demerged from sister company Foresight Europe in April (DW 19 April), will announce exactly how many redundancies it is to make within three weeks. But it will be no less than 40 per cent and could amount to 80 people, it says.

The cuts will be made across the board and could include senior design staff. Staff members have not been informed of who will be affected. The move would leave Wheel with about 80 staff, a shadow of the 360-strong consultancy that was formed from the merger of Pres.co and the then Foresight in December (DW 15 December 2000).

Wheel attributes the cuts to poor market conditions and the likelihood of an unsatisfactory second quarter. It also concedes that revenues are falling.

“Our position hasn’t altered from when we made the first round of redundancies. We remain committed to creating great work but we must get the cost base in line with revenue,” says chief executive officer Philip Redding.

Wheel’s fortunes appeared to improve following the announcement in April of half a dozen wins, including BT Cellnet and Hutchison 3G.

Redding says the latest cuts will not hamper its ability to compete with the biggest groups for blue chip new business.

“We will continue to deliver great solutions and win new projects. We still have the critical mass to deliver our offering to the marketplace,” he comments.

Miles Johnson, director of Primecom, parent of the Wheel Group, says there are “no plans” to make redundancies at Foresight Europe.

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