MEC Interaction Chicago Shuttered After NY Office Loses Sears
Bitterness and anger can be a common emotion when it comes to employment issues and the negative treatment co-workers receive from their superiors for issues outside their control. Those are the emotions eight former WPP MEC Interaction employees may be feeling today after having their office in Chicago shuttered by WPP MEC Interaction Founder Alan Schanzer.
According to a source, the Chicago office, which handled the Sears interactive business for four years until Schanzer moved it to his New York office last November has been shuttered. The source tells us the account, originally won five years ago by the New York office, was moved to the newly-created Chicago office four years ago because the account was "a task his team couldn't handle."
Reportedly fearing his own office's extinction due to loss of other business, Schanzer moved the account back to the New York office only to lose it five months later in a review. Apparently, things didn't go so well. Conversely, the Chicago office scrambled to successfully bring in new business to fill the void left bt Sears but that proved only to be a temporary solution.
Following an account loss of this magnitude, logic might dictate the team working directly on the account would find themselves in the unemployment line or at least suffer some consequence but it was the eight Chicago-based MEC Interactive employees who, we're told, "saved" the account from New York four years ago which Schanzer decided to off instead.
In typical ad industry fashion, the eight Chicago-based MEC Interactive employees were handed a paltry two weeks severance package and a promise they'd have the chance to interview for other WPP jobs in July if they agreed not to comment. To be clear, the tip we base this story on did not come from one of the eight Chicago employees. Also in typical agency fashion, the Chicago team was promised there'd be no layoffs after the Sears loss only to find a New York-based HR representative knocking on their door yesterday morning with walking papers. Nary a peep from Schanzer. Calls to Alan Schanzer for comment were not immediately returned prior to publication.
While it's certainly unfortunate eight very successful people are out of work today in Chicago, one could argue they are without jobs because their office was created solely to handle the one account which was taken away from them. And that Schanzer was more than kind to keep them on for the six months after he shifted the account to his New York office. Conversely, one could argue the eight proved themselves worthy of saving for bringing in new business seemingly in addition to the parent company's overall revenues. And that Schanzer was far too harsh in closing the office rather than making "adjustments" in his New York office where the loss of the Sears account occurred.
The agency business is a nasty one. We know. We've been there. We've been used, abused, lied to, made to lie, laid off, fired, taken advantage of. Apparently, everything is still business-as-usual inside the hallowed walls of the proverbial Madison Avenue.
UPDATE: Informing us we need better sources Alan Schanzer has contacted us and, through an email exchange, has confirmed the Chicago office remains open with people "working across all disciplines in the business." He tells us he believes just 5-6 people were let go, not eight. Further clarifying things, Alan told us, "We build our business in a way that provides flexibility based on where we need resources for a client engagement. We no longer work with Sears and therefore, no longer need those resources in that location. MEC Chicago remains open and vibrant."