More NewsRazorfish Shutters London Office

Razorfish Shutters London Office

Despite winning a recent contract with DirecTV, the company's U.K. division and its iTV practice have shut down.

New York-based interactive shop Razorfish continued its efforts to cut costs, this time by closing its three-year-old London office.

“It’s just part of our overall move to return to profitability as quick as we can, and this does involve aggressive cost-cutting that unfortunately caused us to close some of our offices,” said a spokesperson for the firm.

The closure of Razorfish’s London presence — one of its highest-profile offices outside of the U.S. — is the latest effort to trim expenses by the struggling interactive firm. Earlier this month, the company announced the closure of its Helsinki and Milan offices, and an overall headcount reduction of about 600 employees during the past several months.

The company’s spokesperson wasn’t certain of how many employees had been affected by the London closure, although she said that some might have the opportunity to be redeployed to other offices, such as Razorfish’s presence in Amsterdam.

Similarly, the spokesperson couldn’t say whether London would be the last office closing.

“I can’t predict what will happen, but we will do what we have to do, to regain profitability,” she said.

The office had been created in 1998, when an expanding Razorfish bought London i-shop Curtis Hoy Beston Interactive — regarded at the time as one of the country’s top digital agencies. Since then, Razorfish U.K. has handled work for clients including FT.com, thomascook.com, and Channel 4.

The office also contained Razorfish’s Future TV team, which specialized in interactive television marketing, advertising, design and technology.

Given this, the closing is particularly ironic, since just earlier this month that team won a contract under which Razorfish would be Working with DirecTV. The i-shop was hired to rework the digital satellite provider’s on-air interface and design, to roll out a new system in a few months’ time.

Despite that and other significant wins for iTV work, the office has also seen its share of problems during the year. In March, three executives resigned from the office — strategic development director Mike Beeston, executive vice president Mark Curtis, and U.K. director of strategy Niel Croft.

Beeston and Curtis had been members of Razorfish’s European management team, and had joined Razorfish with the purchase of CHBI, which they helped found.

Earlier that month, the company also announced a “voluntary termination” program designed to reduce headcount in the office — which then had about 224 employees — and in other branches. At the time, Razorfish said it didn’t plan to close any of the involved offices.

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