VNU Said to be in Major Workforce Reduction (posted 12/1)
By Tony Silber
VNU is in the process of a major reorganization and workforce reduction that touches on all of its worldwide businesses, including its vast information holdings such as the Neilsen media measurement companies.
The reduction may be as much as 10 percent of the company's worldwide workforce of roughly 41,000 people, sources told Folio: Alert Friday. The cuts are apparently concentrated on the information side of the business.
But the U.S. magazine unit, with 140 printed publications including Billboard, Adweek, The Hollywood Reporter, Commercial Property News and National Jeweler, has been affected as well, sources said.
It was unclear how many people lost their jobs in a round of layoffs that apparently occurred Thursday, but numbers ranged from 30 people to 120 people.
Multiple sources inside the company said there was no official memo and that information was sketchy. "The HR people were all over the floors as it was going down," one source said.
VNU Business Media CEO Bob Krakoff did not reply to an e-mail inquiry as of press time. A call to a corporate spokesman requesting to speak with VNU CEO David Calhoun was not returned. A spokeswoman for VNU Business Media was unable to comment on the layoffs.
Early this month, VNU Business Media said it was restructuring into six operating groups and brands to be overseen by five senior vice presidents. The new structure will eliminate VNU Expositions, and VNU eMedia and Information Marketing as separate divisions. The changes will take effect January 1.
The changes are being driven by Krakoff, who is applying some of the same market-centric approach he used when he was head of Advanstar. Krakoff took over as CEO VNU's business media division in August following the buyout of VNU B.V. by a consortium of private equity firms called Valcon Acquisition B.V., which paid $9.7 billion for the company.