Inside Dentsu's UK shake-up and why it's moving jobs to the regions

Campaign 18 Dec 2019 09:10

Euan Jarvie stared into the camera and delivered the message that every boss dreads having to deliver in the week before Christmas.

Hundreds of jobs could be at risk, Jarvie, chief executive of Dentsu Aegis Network in the UK & Ireland, told staff on Monday afternoon in a video webcast that was streamed to its head office in London and in the regions.

Around 9% of the group’s estimated 4,000 staff in the UK "may be impacted" in a restructuring, the company said.

That could hypothetically mean close to 400 people would be affected, although the company has insisted there are no firm numbers yet and has not identified any agencies that could be hit.

Some staff will lose their jobs, but other roles will be relocated from London to other parts of the UK.

Insiders describe the shift away from the capital as "near-shoring", rather than relying on "offshoring" in locations such as Bulgaria and India, where the group has operations. 

But that corporate jargon underplays how Dentsu Aegis already has one of the strongest agency networks in the UK regions.

In the near future, it is understood that more than half of Dentsu Aegis’ staff could be outside London. 

There was a succession of leaders of the UK operation – Rob Horler (2011-14), Tracy De Groose (2014-17), Stef Calcraft (2018) and Jarvie (from February 2019) – at a time when bigger rivals such as WPP’s Group M and Omnicom Media Group each had a long-serving boss in the local market.

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