WPP Group has ordered the culling of around one in six jobs at Grey Global London, reports Friday's The Times.

'Today London, tomorrow the world', fear Grey employees elsewhere.

The move rubs salt into the still open wound of large-scale redundancies implemented at the London shop in the early part of 2003, and is reportedly part of WPP's strategy to cut costs and hike margins at its new acquisition.

When it won the battle for Grey in September, WPP declared it would double Grey's margins within two years, upping these from 5.8% to 11.5%. It also promised to create 'synergies' [Sorrell-speak for job cuts] that would save around $20 million (€16.28m; £11.22m)

Sir Martin is doubtless also eager to claw back the inevitable loss of revenues when Mars pulls its $20m UK account out of the agency in favour of Omnicom. WPP washed its hands of the matter. The jobs cuts, said a spokesman, are "a matter for Grey".

WPP will formally assume control of Grey next year, subject to virtually certain approval by Grey's shareholders. Ed Meyer, the 77-year-old Grey chairman/ceo and controlling stockholder, is not on the list of planned job cuts.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff