McCann Goes Through a Round of Layoffs in Detroit Following News of General Motors’ Restructuring

Client to close two area plants, cut thousands of jobs

GM headquarters next to an American flag
GM reported better-than-expected 2018 sales numbers last month despite a battle with President Donald Trump. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

IPG’s McCann Worldgroup parted with a group of employees in the Detroit area today approximately one week after longtime client General Motors cut several thousand “white collar” jobs. Late last year, the company also announced plans to close two area plants.

“Unfortunately, we have made some adjustments in staffing levels in our Detroit, Mich. offices,” said a McCann spokesperson. “We are working with the impacted employees to ensure the smoothest transition possible.”

He declined to elaborate. General Motors’ global spokesperson responded to Adweek’s queries about its marketing business by saying the company has no comment at this time.

The precise number of staffers who were let go is unclear, though sources close to the matter confirmed that layoffs hit McCann Detroit, direct marketing division MRM McCann and Commonwealth//McCann, the global network dedicated to serving GM’s largest brand, Chevrolet. The company has not issued a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice, which is required by law for plant closings or “mass layoffs” affecting 100 or more full-time U.S. employees.

After this story went live, another party indicated that the cuts were not limited to Detroit or the GM team. McCann won the auto giant’s business in a 2012 review, later combining forces with rival Omnicom’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners to form the Commonwealth organization.

Last November, GM followed a disappointing third quarter earnings report by announcing plans to cut approximately 14,000 jobs in North America after offering voluntary buyouts to 17,700 employees with twelve or more years of service. The company also said it would shutter five American factories, two of which are in the Detroit area.

An internal talking points document acquired by CNBC positioned the shift as an attempt by GM to “make the right pre-emptive moves so that we come out of this tough time ahead.” Approximately 2,250 staffers accepted the buyouts before a November deadline, and news of 4,000 additional cuts broke on Feb. 1. Last week, the company confirmed that 1,298 full-time employees would be cut at its technical center in Warren, Mich.

Despite this, GM said the cuts were ultimately smaller than anticipated, and CEO Mary Barra told investors last month that earnings for 2018 had exceeded expectations based on strong sales of cars in China and trucks in the United States after a well-publicized spat with President Donald Trump.

Last month, IPG Mediabrands confirmed that the “majority” of its staff in the Detroit area could potentially be affected by the loss of the Fiat Chrysler account, which went to Publicis Groupe’s Starcom after a review. “We are working to find positions for these employees at other agencies within our network,” said a company spokesperson regarding the 200-plus staff members.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: February 12, 2019 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT