HP layoffs finished by November

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) continues to believe cutting 15,000 positions is the “appropriate” reduction needed following its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. – but remains tight-lipped as to how this might affect its Canadian operations.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP will finish its planned 15,000 layoffs by the end of its 2003 fiscal year, with 10,000 of those layoffs completed by November of 2002, said chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina in her opening address this month at a daylong meeting with financial analysts in Boston.

She also said HP is pushing forward by a year the time frame in which HP intends to realize its promised $2.5 billion in cost savings stemming from the acquisition. That savings will now be attained in HP’s 2003 fiscal year, which ends Oct. 31, 2003, Fiorina said.

“Fundamentally, what you will hear today is that we are moving faster and achieving more,” she said.

Rob Ireland, spokesman for HP Canada, could not confirm whether the planned layoffs would affect its Canadian employees. HP Canada has 58 sites nationwide and more than 6,900 employees.

“To what extent and where (cuts) would come from, it’s very hard to say,” Ireland said.

Ireland did note that the vast majority of HP employees are “customer-facing,” meaning positions within sales and call centres would be least affected by potential cuts.

“I would say that probably most of the reductions would come from either efficiencies we would achieve in our supply chain or in administration,” Ireland said, adding that the company is trying to minimize the impact on the customer.

The HP site in Mississauga, Ont. is currently referred to as HP West, while the Compaq site in Richmond Hill, Ont. is known as HP East. Ireland admitted that there is currently overlap and duplication but it is premature to speculate on restructuring plans, including merging the respective IT departments.

“It’s a phased-in series of restructuring…the way it will affect different areas of the business will happen within different timetables,” Ireland said.