Despite WPP’s head office in the UK unveiling a number of budget-saving initiatives, withdrawing its 2020 guidance, announcing a hiring freeze and forcing executives to take a 20 per cent pay cut, chief exec Mark Read says the agency is “busier than ever”.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade, Read said WPP is working to lay the groundwork for the road to recovery when the coronavirus crisis passes its peak.
He said: “Our people are busier than they have ever been. I would say a large number of our clients are doing a lot in the crisis. They should be talking about what they are doing for their customers.”
However, WPP isn’t immune to the economic downfall and ad spend drop as a result of the global pandemic.
At the end of March, WPP announced it would freeze all new hires; review freelance expenditure; stop discretionary costs, including travel and hotels and the costs of award shows; and postpone planned salary increases for 2020.
In addition, members of the WPP executive committee, as well as the Board, have committed to taking a 20 per cent reduction in their salaries or fees for an initial period of three months in a move it hopes will save the agency £800 million ($A1.6 billion) over the coming year.
Read said at the time: “The actions we have taken in the last 18 months to streamline and simplify WPP, together with raising £3.2 billion in asset disposals, have put WPP in a strong financial position. It is clear that the companies in the strongest financial position will be best placed to protect their people, serve their clients and benefit their shareholders during a period of great uncertainty, which is why we are taking the steps we are.”
Read also has not ruled out further cost-cutting measures, such as potential redundancies.
“No company is immune to the financial consequences of what is going on and we have really been looking at our internal costs, freezing salaries and freezing new hires.
“I think like other companies we can’t rule out further measures and we are working our way through that process as we speak.”
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