R/GA is closing its spacious Hudson Yards office in New York City as well as its downtown San Francisco office as part of a larger structuring under CEO Sean Lyons.
Multiple sources confirmed to Adweek that Lyons broke the news to the agency via email on Tuesday evening.
As part of the restructure, R/GA is moving away from its US city model and instead implementing a country model with five disciplines feeding into the business. With a focus on cities, R/GA, in partnership with IPG, is exiting its leases in New York and San Francisco, Lyons wrote in the email obtained by Adweek.
“Today, 45% of our US staff live away from our offices and 80% of our project teams bring together talent from more than one location,” Lyons wrote in the email. “The ability to bring together talent from anywhere is the backbone of our distributed creativity model. Now we need the infrastructure to support it.
Lyons noted in the email that currently only about 40 employees per day, plus a few customers, use the “cavernous” office daily. Lyons said the agency will eventually reopen a smaller hub in New York in 2023. With employees nationwide, the agency will consider other physical hubs in the United States where employees are concentrated or close to clients.
“We are increasing our investments in travel so that we can bring teams together in our physical locations, or wherever groups of R/GA people are based. (A bar bill in Atlanta is a better use of the budget than an empty room in Hudson Yards.),” Lyons wrote.
The New York and San Francisco offices will close on December 23. The New York office, which opened in 2016, was the subject of Workplace: The Connected Space Documentary. For the film, Gary Hustwit explored the spacious 10,000 square foot office on 10th Avenue and 33rd Street that originally housed 800 employees.
The restructuring was first rolled out in late October, according to Ad Age. It will cover R/GA’s staffing, creative practices, office structure and go-to-market strategy under the term “distributed creativity”. The restructuring was apparently planned before R/GA reported losses of up to $10 million this year from crypto and NFT-related work, according to the story.
Part of this restructuring means downsizing. Multiple sources told Adweek that the agency recently laid off a number of employees. A previous round of layoffs earlier this year reduced New York’s staff by 5%.
Additionally, Robin Forbes assumed the role of Global Chief Client Officer. Forbes will play a key role in rolling out R/GA’s new distributed creativity model. He was previously managing director of the brand design and consultancy practice.
“With R/GA rolling out its new model based on our creative practices, I was looking for the right person to take on the role of Global Chief Client Officer. I’m lucky to have this person at R/GA. Robin has been instrumental in managing some of our most important and successful client relationships,” Lyons said in a statement.
R/GA’s global CFO, Tania Secor, is also stepping down at the end of the year to pursue another opportunity.
The new country model includes a new structure that will encompass five practices: Products + Experiences, Connected Communications, Brand Design + Consulting, Media + Connections, and Brand Relationship Design.
Lyons said the new structure will allow the agency to be more nimble and better serve its clients, adding that the roles of many employees will change as the clientele changes, especially as the innovation clientele in cryptography and other areas has declined.
Lyons also noted that the agency is still working on the remaining executive changes and internships, and expects those changes to be complete by the end of the year.
“Over the past 45 years we have been known to change our model before the industry, but we know that radical change is difficult and that means not everyone will fit into that model,” said Lyons to Adweek earlier this month, in a previous round of staff cuts. “Our distributed creativity model will be the standard for post-pandemic creative enterprise. It encompasses global talent across multiple time zones and means we can be faster, better and cheaper for customers. »