Last week, Coyne PR, a full-service firm with offices in New York, New Jersey, and L.A., abruptly laid off 14% of its staff, nearly 30 people. The company says it fell victim to a rogue Chief Financial Officer.
A source told us that’s Coyne’s layoffs last week were “unexpected and sudden,” and that the remaining staff are now being asked to pick up the slack for departed coworkers. In addition to the layoffs, Coyne notified staffers in at least two July memos that their benefits are being cut. The company said it is “temporarily halting” its 401k matching program, canceling its health care co-pay reimbursement program, and is considering cutbacks to its employee life insurance and vision insurance plans. It is also trimming back its cell phone reimbursement plan and warning employees to be prudent with expense accounts.
Tom Coyne, Coyne PR’s CEO and founder, largely confirmed our source’s account of the company’s troubles today, but characterized the layoffs as a “restructure” following an 18 month-long “hiring spree.” The strangest aspect of the company’s sudden troubles: Tom Coyne himself says that the company’s current financial issues are rooted in the behavior of its Chief Financial Officer, who was let go two weeks ago. (The firm hired Mike Sloan as CFO in May of 2014 and still lists himself as Coyne PR’s CFO. We have asked Sloan for a comment and will update if we hear back.)
“He overstated projections,” Tom Coyne said. “We haven’t gotten to the bottom of it... Was he bad at his job, or was there more to it?” Coyne said the firm’s investigation into the CFO’s actions is ongoing, and that it is too early to know exactly when the troubles began or what their cause or motivation was.