HP silent on Aussie job cuts

Summary:Hewlett-Packard today said it was "too early" to comment on whether Australian job cuts would result from theUS$13.9 billion acquisition of EDS or even which executive would lead the combined entity locally in the immediate future.

Hewlett-Packard today said it was "too early" to comment on whether Australian job cuts would result from the US$13.9 billion acquisition of EDS or even which executive would lead the combined entity locally in the immediate future.

Overnight HP's head office in the US said it would chop about 24,600 jobs, or 7.5 per cent of its total workforce, following the EDS buy, which closed in late August. About half of those jobs will go from countries outside the US. But locally HP said everything was still to be decided.

"It's too early to tell what impact there will be on Australia, it's a three-year plan," said HP's Australian spokesperson Richard Sumich.

In Australia HP has been led for the past six years by its local managing director and vice president of its South Pacific region, Paul Brandling, while EDS is led by local managing director Neil Emerson.

Globally HP has appointed former Westpac technology chieftain Michael Coomer to the role of senior vice president for HP's Asia Pacific and Japan operations after the merger closed. Coomer had held a similar role at EDS.

However, Sumich was unable to confirm that Brandling, or anyone else, would lead the combined business through the transition period, or who either the HP or EDS management currently reported to. "EDS management will remain in charge of EDS, HP will remain in charge of HP," he said.

"It's a three-year plan, so there's a lot of work to do. Our focus right now is to continue to meet our commitments to customers. All of these things have got to be worked through in due course. There's no immediate disruption to our business, we're operating as we always have."

Sumich did not comment when asked whether HP's head office had given the Australian branch instructions on any of the matters.

In late August EDS sent its major Australian clients, including the Australian Taxation Office, letters assuring them the acquisition wouldn't result in a drop in service levels. At the time, union representatives said EDS' heavily unionised local workforce had not yet started airing concerns about the acquisition.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard

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