Publicis Groupe’s SapientRazorfish has confirmed that it is taking a sharp look at its operations with an eye toward restructuring.
"The business models of yesterday are becoming obsolete as market forces and rapidly changing client needs are compelling all businesses, regardless of industry, of the need to evolve,” the agency said in a statement provided to MediaPost.
“At Publicis.Sapient, we are addressing this transformation imperative by continually evaluating how best to align our capabilities and people to ensure the greatest impact for our clients, our business and the industries we serve and our people," per the agency.
A number of staffers are being reassigned to new roles, while an estimated 100 employees (out of a total workforce of 17,000) are being laid off as the company fine-tunes its operating structure.
"As we work to evolve Publicis.Sapient, we have been evaluating our business model to ensure we can be the best digital transformation partner to our clients," an agency rep said. "As part of that process, we recently made the difficult decision to part ways with a small number of our people.”
Although Adweek reported the SapientRazorfish brand will be retired along with several offices shuttered, the agency spokesperson declined to confirm those rumors at this time.
This isn't the first time the tech-centric organization has undertaken efforts to make itself more relevant to the always-evolving ad industry. After initially acquiring digital shop Sapient for $3.7 billion in 2015, Publicis Groupe merged SapientNitro and Razorfish under the SapientRazorfish brand to serve as a "digital first" business."
As the Groupe evolved to integrate digital and technology across its entire structure, the need for a specific digital group within the network became less critical -- and even more so after the introduction of its AI-influenced Marcel platform.
Last November, Alan Wexler assumed single leadership of all Publicis.Sapient operations as CEO. His top priority: “Further accelerate the integration of Digital Business Transformation at the core of the Groupe."
In hindsight, it’s possible to have seen warning signs over the past few months that the Groupe has been planning to make major adjustments after several senior-level executives exited for other shops.
Among them was Bill Hughes, vice president creative talent, who departed after 10 years to join Accenture Interactive's MXM as creative operations director. Ian Sohn, former managing director, Chicago left SapientRazorfish to become president of Wunderman Chicago. And Y Media Labs (YML) poached Jason Rzutkiewicz, former managing partner, San Francisco, to serve as senior vice president, client services.