DoubleClick Lays Off Around 170 Employees

The cutbacks in the Internet advertising industry have finally touched its leader, as DoubleClick on Monday let go approximately 170 employees, or around 8 percent of its workforce.

“We have always carefully managed headcount to assure our productivity outpaces our competitors,” read a statement released by DoubleClick. “The steps we have taken were not dramatic relative to the scale of DoubleClick.”

Rather than officially naming the number of employees laid off, DoubleClick said only that the changes leave its employee base “virtually flat over the course of the second half of the year.” At the end of June 2000, DoubleClick boasted 1931 employees, but by the end of September, it had grown to 2104. Reverting to where it was at the start of the second half of the year means the company would have had to let go 173 people — if the employee count hadn’t changed between October and December.

The news follows other dramatic contractions in the online advertising business. Most recently 24/7 Media cut its workforce by 200 employees, following Engage’s decision to eliminate 175 jobs. All cited a need to streamline after having made acquisitions, and in order to move more quickly toward profitability.

In DoubleClick’s case, the company says the move is aimed at “aligning” its organization under the new executive leadership it announced November 20.

“Recently we announced that we were aligning our executive team to meet the needs of our global clients,” the statement reads. “Today we have made further changes to better align under those leaders.”

At that time, the company named Barry Salzman as president of global media, and Wenda Harris Millard as executive vice president of global media, in moves aimed at giving the company more of an international focus. David Rosenblatt, newly named president of technology marketing services, now oversees the operations of the data, research, and TechSolutions divisions, and Susan Sachatello joined the company in the newly created job of chief marketing officer.

Although DoubleClick has not appeared to have had as many struggles as some of its competitors, the company’s stock price has sunk amid investor concerns about the future of online advertising. Mid morning, DoubleClick was off $1 to $12.13, down significantly from its 52-week-high of $135.25. In making its most recent quarterly earnings announcement, DoubleClick said it expected sales of online advertising to slow in the coming months.

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