BENGALURU: Within 50 days of his taking charge, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has undertaken a major layoff exercise globally. This includes, sources said, a few hundred jobs in India, where IBM has about a third of its global strength of 350,000.
Many of those impacted are said to be mid-level executives including project managers and above, some of who have spent over a decade in the company. “I was asked to resign as there aren’t enough projects. I was given three months’ basic salary as severance,” said an affected employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The layoffs picked up steam in April, he said.
IBM said in a statement, “IBM’s work in a highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly remix high-value skills, and our workforce decisions are made in the long-term interests of our business.”
The company is seen to be working towards a sharper alignment with its strategic priorities — cloud and AI — even as it navigates the business impact of the pandemic.
A Bloomberg report said the jobs cuts affected employees in Pennsylvania, California, Missouri and New York, and indicated that it could be in the thousands. A thread on layoff tracker thelayoff.com, said, “Word is 30 days notice, (brings you to end of 2nd quarter), and 90 days severance. Hopefully able to collect unemployment after signing IBM exit papers.” A Reddit thread said, “Arvind said that the company is sticking to its employees in these difficult times. However, my manager is telling me that RA (resource action) is happening and we are in danger, not sure if it’s a bluff or something serious is going. I understand business is not good right now, but how is what our CEO saying reflecting on what’s actually happening? Are you guys seeing RA happening in your region?” Discussions on layoff threads pointed to mid-to-senior level executives being among major casualties.
IBM in India operates in five business segments – cloud & cognitive software, global business services (GBS), global technology services (GTS), systems and global financing. GTS, which runs critical infrastructure and systems, is said to have around 50,000 people here, making it one of the largest employee bases for the GTS segment. Bloomberg said it’s one of the divisions impacted. In a recent earnings call, IBM CFO James Kavanaugh, said, “We took structural actions to improve the competitiveness of our Global Technology Services business, and enable new ways of working across our operations. Our actions will deliver annualised gross savings of nearly $2 billion.”