Getty Plans Jupiterimages Layoffs, Office Closures

Posted on 3/2/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

As expected, Getty Images will be cutting staff after finalizing its acquisition of Jupiterimages last week. However, the severity of the cuts remains unclear.

A Getty spokesperson would not discuss the number of Jupiterimages’ employees the company plans to lay off with Photo District News. The company did disclose that layoffs of U.S. employees were taking place over the next 60 days, and that the company would close a number of U.S.-based Jupiterimages’ offices. According to Getty, international Jupiterimages’ operations will not be affected during the next two months.

Jupiterimages’ employee Shannon Toft, whose grandfather established Dynamic Graphics, spoke to an Illinois media outlet WMBD/WYZZ, which subsequently reported a much more dire story. “All 400 worldwide [Jupiterimages’] employees from England to Australia will be laid off between April and September,” according to WMBD reporter Iris Pérez.

The source of WMBD information is unclear. Toft, who will not be employed at Jupiterimages’ offices as of April, is unlikely to be privy to Getty’s exact plans for the future. Pérez does not appear to have done enough fact-checking to correctly spell Alan Meckler’s last name, referring to the former Jupiterimages’ CEO as Alan Mechler.

Still, the probability of a wide-scale elimination of offices and staff is quite high. Getty Images’ existing personnel and international network of offices render the majority of Jupiterimages’ employees and locations redundant. Given the similarity of the two merging businesses, there is likely very little specialized expertise that any Jupiterimages employee can bring to the new owner.

The last two major known rounds of Getty layoffs took place in April and August of 2007, following its acquisition of MediaVast and the company’s prediction of a continued decline in traditional business. While Getty was still posting a healthy profit prior to going private in mid-2008, its profit margin was in decline and cannot have been helped by the persistently worsening economic conditions since.

Now that the company is private, it is increasingly keeping human-resources information close to the vest: in response to a recent Selling Stock request, a Getty spokesperson declined to comment on a rumor of a current salary freeze. How many have lost jobs since Getty’s 2008 change of ownership is impossible to ascertain, but it is a safe bet that the industry leader has and will continue to take every available chance to cut costs—which does not bode well for Jupiterimages’ staffers.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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