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Local ad agency losing Simon work, cutting employees

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Publicis Indianapolis, one of the city’s top-billing ad firms, said it is cutting about 15 percent of its local work force as work for key client Simon Property Group Inc. shifts to New York.

Among those leaving is Tom Hirschauer, president of the Indianapolis office and a big player in the city’s marketing/advertising industry since the mid-1980s. It was not immediately clear Friday whether he was leaving of his own accord or was terminated.

Hirschauer will serve in a consulting capacity, however, said Sally Kennedy, CEO of the Dallas office of France-based Publicis Groupe. 

The Indianapolis office will be losing about eight people, based on a total work force of 55 people that it reported to IBJ in August. Affected employees will receive severance pay and some will remain until late this month, Kennedy said.

In explaining the local cutbacks, Publicis said Indianapolis-based Simon has hired a new marketing officer based in New York City, where Publicis also has operations. “We’re not losing the [Simon] business entirely,” Kennedy said.

“Obviously, because Simon was a good-sized account, it is having some impact on the local office in Indianapolis," she said.

A representative for Simon could not immediately comment when reached early Friday afternoon.

Kennedy said Publicis is in negotiations to land another piece of business similar to the Simon work leaving Indianapolis. 

Hirschauer is in his early 60s, and some local advertising agency executives wonder if he might be contemplating retirement following the changes at Publicis. Hirschauer deferred questions to Kennedy.

Local Publicis employees already were anticipating changes that could affect them as a result of the planned merger between Publicis and New York-based agency Omnicom Group Inc.

The two companies announced the merger in July, creating a global advertising/communications behemoth with combined revenue of $23 billion. The merger is expected to close early next year.

As of 2011, the Indianapolis office had local capitalized billings of $82.5 million, which made it the highest-billing ad firm in the city, according to IBJ research. Its billings dropped to $74.2 million in 2012, which allowed Bradley and Montgomery to slip into the top spot with $75.4 million.

Among Publicis Indianapolis’ major clients are Roche, Duke Realty Corp., Finish Line Inc. and Star Bank, according to its website.

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