Epsilon Lays Off 60; Regroups With Web Focus

At least 60 staffers have been let go in an effort to reposition Epsilon, the database-marketing firm partially owned by American Express, as an Internet-based marketer.
Brought in to oversee the transformation was Corey Torrence, who was named CEO in November.
Torrence, formerly president at consulting firm Logica in Lexington, Mass., was appointed by Epsilon’s board of directors to replace Bob Mohr, who remains board chairman.
Carl Whittaker, named strategy chief by Torrence, last week confirmed that less than 10 percent of the staff was cut, reducing the overall number of employees to 700.
The layoffs were “an effective management decision about what skill sets are really needed,”
Whittaker said.
For some, the restructuring was overdue. “It’s past time that Epsilon move from traditional offline database marketing to the e-business space,” said Ken Dec, president at CGN Marketing and Creative Services, the Boston shop bought by Epsilon last year.
Dec, for one, hopes Epsilon’s new Internet focus, which includes its expansion into providing e-business solutions, will provide his agency with better resources.
The restructuring at Burlington, Mass.-based Epsilon will have no effect on CGN, Dec said, because it is a subsidiary run independently of the parent company.
Whittaker agreed and added, “We have no plans to integrate our accounts and people.”
Epsilon reported $100 million in revenues in 1998, counting American Express, Fidelity and IBM among its clients.