NEW YORK — Ahead of the merger of BCW and Hill & Knowlton to create Burson this July, the combined agency brand has confirmed that there will be redundancies across the global business.

An internal memo sent to all staff today and seen by PRovoke Media is the first confirmation that some duplicate roles within Burson will be “eliminated”, although there is no clarification so far of the nature of those roles, the total number of redundancies, or which geographies and offices will be most affected. Burson will have around 6,000 employees in 43 markets. 

The memo, jointly signed by Burson global CEO Corey duBrowa and chairman AnnaMaria DeSalva (pictured), states: “Over the past several months, the integration team has been working to combine our two agencies to best position Burson to be the leader in delivering modern communications at scale to clients. As you can imagine, this is a considerable task, but we are making progress. You can expect to see more leadership appointments across geographies and functions over the next several weeks.

“The integration process has also required a careful review of our shared resources and teams as we work to build one unified organization. In doing so, we have identified areas in the business where we must eliminate roles, many of which were duplicate.

“We have been able to place some of these colleagues in new positions, consistent with the commitment we made at the outset to minimize job loss while ensuring we are building strong teams for our clients. Unfortunately, we do have colleagues who will be leaving the business, and you will begin to hear about these departures.”

The leaders continue: “We want to reassure you that we have worked hard throughout this process to be thoughtful, fair and consistent,” and underlined that Burson is “committed to supporting those who are leaving and have established a range of programs to assist them”, including access to WPP’s recruitment and transition services and information on other job placement resources.

In the memo, duBrowa and DeSalva acknowledged this was “difficult news for all of us” but that “we are confident that we are setting up the business to be best positioned for success. We have a strong team, great clients all around the world and considerable opportunity ahead.”

In an interview with PRovoke Media after the merger announcement, duBrowa and DeSalva discussed the challenges of the merger and addressed the question of "two into one won't go" in terms of duplicated roles. In that conversation, DuBrowa said: "The integration team will be working really hard to limit the impact on jobs to the greatest extent possible," but did not elaborate on what this would mean in concrete terms.

Burson has so far announced two rounds of leadership appointments: the first naming regional leads and a second with more global, practice and specialist leaders

Earlier this week, the Burson brand expanded with the addition of UK financial specialist Buchanan Communications, which will sit alongside H&K, technology specialist AxiCom and GCI Health.

All PRovoke Media's coverage of the merger can be found here, including our podcast