IBM says jobs cuts still speculation

IBM Canada on Tuesday disputed an online story stating the acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting arm could result in the loss of about 4,000 consulting services jobs.

The story was reported online Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal citing “a report” and people connected to the acquisition as sources. It has not been determined how many of the 30,000 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) employees will be affected. The story was also unclear as to how many of the 50,000 employees within the Business Innovation Services department – which performs IT consulting services at IBM – would be affected.

In Canada, the Business Innovation Services group is one of four or five departments under the umbrella of IBM Global Services, of which there are approximately 11,000 employees, according to Maureen Rourke, global services spokesperson for IBM Canada in Markham, Ont.

“During the transition, which is between now and the close of the transaction, we’ll continue to operate as separate organizations. And even after that, where, for example, IBM and PwC consulting people are servicing the same clients, the teams that are working to deliver different solutions through separate contracts, for the most part those teams are not going to change,” Rourke said. “Beyond that we are going to review and assess everything and see if there is any duplication between the two organizations, but until that time, it’s too early to speculate on the outcome of that assessment.”

The acquisition is scheduled to be completed at the end of September, Rourke said.

IBM announced last month that an agreement had been reached to acquire the PwC consulting firm for US$3.5 billion in cash and stock.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of layoffs could be reduced if there is an upturn in the IT consulting market or if PwC employees leave before the acquisition is completed.

“Business needs will drive the staffing requirements and that is true for anything that we do here,” Rourke said.

For more information visit about the acquisition visit IBM’s site at