Contract magazine publisher Premier Media Partners is cutting back on staff. Five full-time senior positions are under review, including that of a new business director.
The cuts, which have come at the height of the pitch season, sparked fears of editorial job losses but no journalists have been affected so far.
The move comes four months after Premier beat off stiff competition to hold onto its biggest contract, the British Airways magazine High Life.
At the time, insiders linked the airline’s wish to invite rival publishers to pitch for the contract to BA’s efforts to reduce costs and improve profitability
A source close to Premier suggested BA had set new advertising targets and High Life, which relies on the US for much of its advertising, may have been hit by the downturn in the US economy.
Premier is now understood to be expanding its sales operations.
Craig Waller, Premier’s chief executive, refused to comment on any job losses. He said: "We are in a process of rationalising our staff and we are in a period of consultation where some individuals are concerned." He said the climate was "tough" in general for businesses and suggested any sensible company would be taking steps to make sure costs and revenue were in order.
Insiders said the cutbacks had prompted renewed speculation that Premier could be on the brink of a possible merger with Redwood. Both companies are owned by Omnicom.
Weller denied the speculation, adding: "Redwood are colleagues. We do talk to them but there is no conversation going on of that nature." Waller said the consultation process should be completed by next week.
By Ruth Addicott