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Wolf Group Buffalo, the area's third-largest advertising agency, has made a number of staff adjustments to focus on building its Internet-related business.

Tom Bolling, chief executive officer of the downtown firm, confirmed that effective Monday, seven people, and one vacant job, were cut from the agency roster. The cuts were made to rebalance the employee count following the hiring of seven new staffers in late 2000, he said.

"This is part of an effort to strengthen our capabilities in a couple of new disciplines. The key element is a renewed commitment to building an interactive presence in this market," Bolling said.

In addition to new employees with Internet marketing and promotion-linked skills, Wolf Group added a person to handle public relations duties. Workers who were let go had titles ranging from art director, to account manager to secretary, he said.

"It's never an easy decision to let people go, but we had to stay within the labor ratios established in our budget," Bolling said. "We believe the shift in focus better positions this office for growth in 2001 and beyond."

The Wolf Group Buffalo now employs 48 people.

The year ahead portends another major change for the communications agency. Wolf Group Wednesday inked a lease for space at 655 Main St., in a building set for a spring construction start. The agency is expected to move from its current quarters at 40 Fountain Plaza, up Main Street a block, in late 2001 or early 2002, depending on the pace of construction.

Wolf Group Buffalo, which counts HSBC Bank USA as one of its major clients, is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Wolf Group, which operates sister offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Rochester, New York and Atlanta.

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