WPP so far has not disclosed any plans to lay off staff as a result of the pandemic and has prioritized protecting as many jobs as possible, but CEO Mark Read told Bloomberg TV today that he couldn’t “rule out tougher measures in the future,” including job cuts.
Last week the holding company announced a number of cost-cutting efforts to maintain a strong balance sheet including executive pay cuts, suspending dividends and stock buybacks and eliminating award shows from the 2020 budget among other measures.
The company has roughly 100,000 people working at home “and working effectively” Read told Bloomberg, a concept that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
There hasn’t been a period of such extreme global uncertainty since the Second World War, he said. “The companies with the strongest balance sheets will be in the strongest position” coming out of the crisis, Read said.
The way brands communicate with consumers is critical to their success, he added, noting research that found that 84% of consumers will judge brands by what they do during the health crisis. “Our services are needed,” he said.