Broadcaster Sky has axed a design director, a creative director and five designers from its in-house team Sky Creative, with further redundancies rumoured to be in the pipeline.
The designers left Sky last month, following a two-month consultation period, ordered as a result of the broadcaster’s June budget review.
Four creative directors, including Sky One creative director Andi Granger, and four design directors remain at the 250-strong Sky Creative team, led by director Mike Hurst.
‘We are expecting further rounds [of redundancies], probably in the operations department,’ says a current member of the team.
The employee adds, ‘The department is not what it used to be. The redundancies were quite messy and the atmosphere has changed hugely since they happened.’
A former member of Sky’s creative team also tells Design Week, ‘This is the first round – there are more to come.’
But Sky maintains that there are no further redundancies planned, claiming that it has completed the changes made as part of its strategic review.
A Sky spokesman tells Design Week, ‘We conducted a business-wide overhead review as part of our annual budgeting process in June. This resulted in seven redundancies in Sky Creative, around 3 per cent of the total team.’
Sky also denies that the redundancies are symptomatic of the present global economic crisis, saying that the review was conducted in the early summer, before the credit crunch had reached its current heights.
A former member of the Sky Creative team warns that reducing the department’s budget will affect the quality of its work.
He says that under chief executive Jeremy Darroch the channel is ‘narrowing down’, adding, ‘[During] the reigns of Tony Ball [Sky chief executive in 2003] and James Murdoch [chief executive until 2007], it was throwing out ideas, but it is starting to slow down.’
Sky Creative unveiled its refreshed logos for Sky at the end of August, work which was allegedly created by one or more of the designers who have now gone (DW 7 August).
SKY CREATIVE STRUCTURE
• Sophie Turner Laing is managing director of entertainment, BSkyB
• Mike Hurst is director of Sky Creative
• Creative directors and design directors for each channel and platform, including Sky One, Two and Three, report to Hurst
• About 250 graphics, branding, digital and broadcast designers, plus visual-effects specialists and animators