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Portland Ad Agency Wieden+Kennedy Announces Companywide Layoffs

“We negotiated this as long as we could, but W+K and COVID-19 have reached an impasse.”

Advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, one of Portland's most significant employers, is laying off 11% of its worldwide staff as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

"We negotiated this as long as we could, but W+K and COVID-19 have reached an impasse," the company announced in a press release. "How long this will last seems to be anybody's guess, so we have had to make some hard choices."

In addition to its headquarters in Northwest Portland, W+K has offices in New York, the U.K., the Netherlands, Japan, India, China and Brazil.

The company did not elaborate on which regions would be most affected, and a spokesperson declined to comment to WW on how the layoffs affect the Portland office specifically.

In a statement, the agency says leadership took pay reductions and cut nonessential spending in March as the pandemic initially began to spread in the United States. Pay was then reduced further "on a sliding scale related to level of earning."

According to the press release, some employees left voluntarily "to save the jobs of others."

The company is offering former employees four months' severance on average and extending health benefits through the end of 2020 or longer, depending on tenure.

"Voluntary or not," the statement reads, "everyone was given the softest landing possible.

Related: Ad Agency Wieden + Kennedy Has Teamed Up With Gov. Brown to Keep Oregonians at Home.