Companies grapple with human loss

For the 280 companies that occupied office space in the two World Trade Center towers devastated by terrorist attacks, as well as those who lost employees in the four hijacked airplanes, moving on from last Tuesday’s tragedy will entail much more than just rebuilding a business. Many companies are spending their days coping with a huge loss of life.

More than 5,000 people are reported missing in the World Trade Center wreckage, New York City authorities said Friday. That includes employees who worked in the two World Trade Center towers that collapsed when terrorists rammed the buildings with hijacked commercial airliners. It also includes emergency workers and occupants of nearby building who were caught under a mass of falling cement and steel as the two 110-story World Trade Center buildings came toppling down.

More than 260 passengers and crew members also died Tuesday on the four commercial airlines used in suicide attacks that hit the twin towers and the Defense Department’s Pentagon headquarters building in Virginia. The fourth plane, which crashed in a rural part of Pennsylvania, apparently was prevented from hitting targets.

Although the exact death toll remains unconfirmed, rescue crews continue to sift through rubble as families and employers search at hospitals. Among those killed or still missing were employees and top executives from some of the largest technology and financial firms in the world. IT giants including Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Xerox Corp. spent the remainder of the week mourning the loss of employees or aiding in efforts to locate hundreds still unaccounted for.

Computer Economics, a private industry research group, estimated Friday that Tuesday’s terror attacks could end up costing companies about $15.8 billion to restore IT and communications capabilities. The research group also predicted that relocating destroyed business to new offices in the New York area will be equally taxing. As more office buildings came crashing down or remained in danger of collapse, some 650 small and medium-sized business were expected to be displaced.

However, recovering from the human impact of the disaster will be an even more difficult task.

The greatest employee death toll is likely to have hit Cantor Fitzgerald LP, a bond trading powerhouse that employed roughly 1,000 people on the 101st and 103rd through 105th floors of One World Trade Center, the first tower to be hit. About 700 employees who were in the company’s offices when the attacks occurred were still unaccounted for, Chief Executive Officer Howard Lutnick said in an interview Thursday night on ABC.

One of the top bond brokerages in the world, accounting for nearly $5 trillion in bond transactions in the last year alone, Cantor Fitzgerald was back in business Thursday. Working out of regional offices around the world and in a temporary facility in New York, the company was in the thick of it as the bond market resumed trading. But helping the families of those with lost loved ones remains a key effort for Cantor Fitzgerald to rebuild.

“We can never do enough,” Lutnick said in a statement Friday, after establishing a fund to help victims, which included a $1 million personal donation.

Companies in the financial services industry were hardest hit, as the World Trade Center was at the heart of the nation’s financial sector. Eight employees from Bank of America Corp. are still unaccounted for, the company said. More than 400 employees worked in Bank of America’s offices on the 8th through 11th floors of the North Tower. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. also said it has yet to find some 40 of its 3,700 employees who worked on floors 43 through 46 of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

An investment banking firm called Sandler O’Neill & Partners said more than 60 of its 166 employees who worked in the World Trade Center are missing. Herman Sandler, the firm’s founder, is among those unaccounted for. Employees from scores of other small financial firms located in the two towers add to the list of those missing.

Meanwhile, Lehman Brothers Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. reported losses much less severe than some of their industry counterparts. Since the evacuation of its downtown New York locations, Lehman said it has been able to contact all but one of the 618 employees who worked in World Trade Center offices. The company occupied the 38th through 40th floors. Three employees from Merrill remain missing.

Instinet Inc., a finance and technology company that built one of the first electronic trading systems, also said this week it has located most of its employees. “We believe that the vast majority of the approximately 200 Instinet employees in the World Trade Center are safe,” Doug Atkin, President and CEO of Instinet Group Inc., said in a statement on the company’s Web site. In addition, Citigroup Inc. said it was able to evacuate its employees at Seven World Trade Center, which also collapsed late in the day Tuesday.

Communication and technology companies have also been hard hit by the terrorist attacks, as employees from a range of companies were confirmed passengers on the doomed flights that crashed Tuesday or were in the vicinity of the crash scenes.

Verizon Communications Inc. said six of its employees are still unaccounted for. The company had 488 employees working at the World Trade Center and 1,737 at a nearby building on West Street at the time of the attacks. Another employee was at the Pentagon when that location was hit.

Oracle Corp. reported seven missing employees this week. Todd Beamer, an Oracle employee, lost his life when United Flight 93 crashed in western Pennsylvania. Another six Oracle consultants were working on the 97th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Those who missing from the company came from the U.S., India and the U.K.

“This terror and tragedy is reaching families around the globe,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said in a statement. “The entire civilized world is in mourning.”

Other major technology companies reported the loss of life of employees both in the destroyed buildings and aboard the crashed airliners. IBM Corp. told reporters that it hasn’t accounted for a “handful” of its employees working in the devastated areas, one of whom was a passenger on one of the planes. The company employs 1,900 workers in New York and roughly 3,800 in the Washington, D.C. area.

Technology and defense manufacturing company Raytheon Co. said it had four employees on board hijacked flights that crashed in New York and in Virginia at the Pentagon. The company also had offices on the 91st floor of Two World Trade Center, but it didn’t release figures regarding how many employees it has yet to account for.

Xerox Corp. lost one of its employees on United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the South Tower. The company also reported that an unknown number of its staff working in the basement of that building are missing.

Sun Microsystems Inc., which occupied the 25th and 26th floors in the South Tower, did not say if it was missing any of its approximately 300 sales representatives who often worked in the tower. It did, however, confirm that Phil Rosenzweig, a director in Sun’s software organization, was on American Airlines Flight 11.

Thomson Corp., a financial services company that tracks stocks and Wall Street brokerages, said it lost one employee on that same flight. Another 10 employees who worked out of the company’s office in the World Trade Center are unaccounted for. The company, which is also the parent of financial research reporting service First Call, employed 200 people in that building.

SunGard Data Systems Inc., a technology company serving the financial services industry, said three of its employees who were visiting customers in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack are still missing.

Lost in the flights

Technology companies that don’t do business in the World Trade Center or surrounding buildings also lost employees who were aboard the four flights that crashed, according to reports from those companies and passenger lists published by American Airlines and United Airlines.

– Three engineers from software maker BEA Systems Inc. died aboard airliners that crashed Tuesday. Lead engineer Ed Felt was on board United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Charles Jones, a program manager for the company, was on American Airlines Flight 11, which slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Robert Penniger, an electrical engineer at BEA Systems, was on American Airlines Flight 77, en route from Washington to Los Angeles, which crashed into the Pentagon.

– The co-founder and chief technology officer of Akamai Technologies Inc., Daniel Lewin, died on Flight 11.

– Also on that flight was Edmund Glazer , chief financial officer of networking holding company MRV Communications Inc.

– Two employees of ELogic Corp., Jeff Mladenik, vice president of market development and interim chief executive officer, and Andrew Curry Green, director of business development, died aboard Flight 11.

– Three employees of German software company BCT Software died on United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center: President and Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Kimmig, Klaus Bothe, a company development director, and Wolfgang Menzel, director of human resources.

– Metrocall Inc., a wireless network provider, lost its chief operating officer, Steven D. “Jake” Jacoby, on Flight 77.

– James E. Hayden, chief financial officer of software maker Netegrity Inc., was aboard Flight 175.

– A2 Software Solutions lost its founder, Anna Williams Allison, on Flight 11.

– San Francisco-based public relations firm The Bingham Group lost its founder, Mark Bingham. The 31-year-old executive was a passenger on Flight 93.

– Suzanne Calley, an employee of Cisco Systems Inc., died on Flight 77.

– General Electric Co. employee N. Janis Lasden died on Flight 11.

– Lucent Technologies Inc. lost one of its retired employees, Jacqueline Norton, also on Flight 11.

– Peter Hanson, vice president of sales at TimeTrade Systems Inc., was on United Flight 175, traveling with his wife, Sue, and daughter, Christine.

– Two employees from XonTech Inc. died on Flight 77. They were John Sammartino and Leonard Taylor.

– The Boeing Co. had three employees on that flight: Chandler Keller, Dong Lee and Ruben Ornedo.

– Compaq Computer Corp. said Friday that one of its technology consultants, Jeffrey Coombs, died aboard Flight 11.

– Professional services organization PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP reported the loss of Patrick Quigley, a partner at the firm, who was on board Flight 175.