During an extended investor day conference, WPP CEO Mark Read positioned his business not as a formerly dominant network pivoting to retain its relevance, but as a “creative transformation company” best fit to serve a new kind of economy, reports Adweek, which added that at the very least, he said, “WPP will deliver 15 percent margins by 2021 as part of a strategy that will keep it “in line with its peers” by streamlining the holding company’s global structure and reinvesting in tech assets and creative talent—especially in the United States.

“This means cutting approximately 3,500 jobs, or more than 2.6 percent of WPP’s global workforce, over the next three years. A company executive speaking on background said the net reduction after reinvestment will be approximately 2,500, meaning WPP plans to hire around 1,000 new staffers before the aforementioned 2021 deadline.

“The same executive said these layoffs will primarily concern “back-office areas rather than creative and other client-facing areas” but declined to elaborate. Later in the conference, WPP confirmed that it will be closing 80 unspecified local offices, combining 100 more and disposing of 16 “non-core or underperforming businesses.”

“Perhaps most significantly, the company will not be merging any more of its agencies for the foreseeable future, despite widespread rumors regarding specific creative, digital and media shops that have swirled around the industry since the unions of VML, Y&R, Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson became official.”

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