Bradley Marquez: Reduction in Force (A)
Bradley Marquez (BM) was created by Jim Bradley and Alberto Marquez in 1995 with the basic mission of helping companies bring their business to ethnic markets. Jim Bradley studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, had nine years of marketing position experience, yet never established a college degree in any type of business aspect. The same scenario was prevalent for Alberto Marquez, who received a B.F.A in acting from Penn State, and was a professional actor and screenwriter. Neither Bradley or Marquez had any type of formal experience of how to run a business.
Nonetheless, according to a leading industry publication in 1996, Bradley Marquez was listed as one of the top 10 ethnic advertising agencies. In 1997, the Omnicorp Group, specializing in advertising and public relations, purchased a number of small companies, including a 40% share of Bradley Marquez. Over the next two years, Bradley Marquez began purchasing small advertising companies in the U.S. and internationally. BM was expanding far too quickly and on September 11, 2000, a few months after the stock market bubble burst, Bradley Marquez was left looking for solutions as to help save a floundering company.
Andrew Lauder was hired as chief operating officer (COO), to help right the ship in 2000. Fortunately for Bradley Marquez, Mr. Lauder had substantial business experience, from his MBA in finance and international business, along with being CEO for Muze Inc, and marketing/sales roles at IBM, just to name a few. Lauder had the difficult task of reviving a company built by two people who had no idea how their company was being ran in the first place.
Before Lauder was introduced, in 1999 BM was still operating in aggressive growth mode, planning for at least 90% growth with revenues of $106 million; BM was already operating 1,500 employees in nine different offices. Soon after Lauder was hired on as COO he immediately began to notice the problems Bradley Marquez was faced with, including; over hiring, inexperienced managers, high overhead expenses, and above all, lack of leadership. A month into his job, Lauder was asked by Kevin Rowe (CEO of North America), to draw up a plan for how a layoff would be handled. Since BM had never tracked individual profits and losses between each of their offices, Lauder had no way of determining which office was profitable or not; All Lauder knew was that he needed to layoff about 150 employees.
On December 1, Lauder took the easy way out and decided to close the entire Vail office, which housed the most employees, yet also serviced the largest client account for the entire company. Unfortunately for Lauder and BM, this layoff did not save the company at all. Revenues continued to decline steeply in January, February, and March of 2001 and Bradley Marquez is continuing to search for answers.
After given the approval from both Bradley and Marquez, Lauder established an unclear percentage based off several margins to help narrow down which office would receive the lay offs. Within a few months the Vail office was chosen for the lay offs and much to the employee’s surprise, the entire office was closed. This decision not only caused employee moral to severely drop; it did not lower their expenses like they anticipated. The layoff and Vail closure exposed the employees to the lack of knowledge Bradley and Marquez had in the company’s financial affairs, along with their inability to run the company efficiently. Due to the previous decision a whole new set of issues have surfaced that Bradley, Marquez, and Lauder must resolve in order to restore profitability and harmony to the company. A major barrier that led to the catastrophe of the first decision is their failure to track profits from each office. Some of the major issues that require immediate attention are the lack of leadership and communication from management; declining revenues and customer retention;...
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