Occam's Razorfish: When Is a Closing Not a Closing?

Bob LordDon't call them "closings," but Razorfish has decided to nix offices in Boston, LA, Portland and Ft. Lauderdale, a company spokeswoman confirms. During a "town hall" with staff late last week, the agency's employees were informed that the four offices would be shut down within a month, according to industry blog Agency Spy, which broke the news on Thursday.

 

 But that's not the whole story, according to a Razorfish spokeswoman. "It's more complicated than closing offices," she told Online Media Daily. "Those offices are becoming 'virtual,'" she said, adding that the company is looking for new physical offices in Portland and LA.

The shift represents a more "collaborative model," Razorfish's recently appointed CEO Bob Lord said in a statement. "We're continuing to service our clients in those markets in a smarter, more efficient way."

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"We are focusing and re-deploying our resources for the sole purpose of becoming more strategic thought partners to our clients," Lord added.

Agency Spy also reported that as-yet unnamed senior management at the ill-fated offices will be transferred to other Razorfish offices, while local staffers will continue to service remaining clients remotely.

Last month, Razorfish announced that Lord, formerly president of the digital agency's east region, had been named CEO of the company. He replaced Clark Kokich -- Razorfish's chief executive since 2007 -- who then named its first chairman.

In an internal memo circulated at the time of the shakeup, Kokich seems to have warned his colleagues of things to come. "We exhibit pockets of brilliance, but too often we are all working in a vacuum -- not really understanding the great progress being made in other offices, and rarely able to leverage that success across the organization."

In November, Razorfish laid off 36 staffers, or less than 2% of its 2,000-person workforce, after cutting 40 in October.

Lord had previously also led its business in Latin America, where the agency represents Terra Latin America, the largest Internet portal in the region.

As CEO, Lord resides in the New York office of Seattle-based Razorfish.

In recent months, Razorfish has acquired Spain-based agency Wysiwyg and been named digital agency partner for brands Mattel, Mercedes-Benz USA, Starwood and TravelChannel.com.

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