Bell calls in managers for pink slips

BCE Inc. CEO George Cope has continued his action plan to revitalize the troubled company by announcing 2,500 managers will be leaving the company.

However Bell was quick to say in Monday’s news release outlining the layoffs that no front-line service positions are being touched.

“It is always difficult to see colleagues depart,” Cope said in the news release, “but these changes are absolutely necessary. We are moving forward with a streamlined management structure that brings everyone at Bell closer to the customer and allows us to compete more effectively.”

“This new structure positions us as a far more efficient and cost-effective operator in the intensely competitive Canadian communications marketplace.” The layoffs, part of a restructuring to make the company make decisions faster, representing approximately six per cent Bell’s 54,000 workers or about 15 per cent of management. These changes include the reduction in executive positions announced July 11 when Cope took over.

Combined with other reductions undertaken earlier this year, Bell said, the changes announced today are expected to provide annualized savings of approximately $300 million. The management reductions are apparently the first step in Cope’s plan, described in some media outlets as a 100-day scheme to overhaul the company. Industry analysts are waiting to see if he will cut some of Bell Canada’s older telephone and network services, dispose of non-core assets such as Bell Aliant, move more aggressively into IPTV and switch Bell Mobility’s standard from CDMA to GSM.