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Ford’s marketing team hit by company layoffs

A “redesign” of Ford’s workforce will result in redundancies within the auto brand’s marketing team, a company spokesperson has confirmed.

Today (20 May) saw the brand announce plans to scrap 7,000 of its salaried roles by August in an extensive round of global layoffs that will eliminate 10% of its white-collar workforce.

Ford would not specify which departments would be hit the hardest, however, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that as all functions are set to be affected by the decision, a number of marketing and communications jobs will be made redundant.

However, they stated the cost-cutting measures would be contained to the internal workforce and would not affect Ford’s marketing budgets.

The majority of cuts across the business will be made outside of the US. In the States, 500 staff will be given notice this week and a total of 800 jobs in the country will be scrapped by August, inclusive of cuts already made this year.

The carmaker's management structure will be reduced by 20% as part of the layoffs.

Jim Hackett, Ford’s chief executive, dubbed the cuts “an organizational redesign process” in an internal memo. He said the redundancies would be necessary for the company to create a “more dynamic, agile and empowered workforce”.

“We understand this is a challenging time for our team,” he wrote, “but these steps are necessary to position Ford for success today and yet preparing to thrive in the future.”

Under the influence of investors, the chief executive has been bullish on cost-cutting since he took on the role in 2017.

The automaker plans to slash $25.5bn in spending by 2022. It identified sales and marketing as an area ripe for trimming in April 2018, putting its incumbent agency, WPP’s Global Team Blue, on alert that same month and handing the creative reins to Omnicom’s BBDO by October.

Wieden+Kennedy also picked up a piece of its advertising business in an innovation capacity.

At the time, The Drum reported the reformed roster was expected to save Ford $150m per year, alongside efficiencies gleaned from in-housing 100 marketing roles across branding, digital labs and media partnerships.

It is unclear if any of those new jobs will be affected by today’s announcement.

Ford’s spokesperson noted Hackett’s “workforce redesign” began in the fall of 2018 – the same time it concluded its advertising review.

Featured by The Drum

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