Half of Avaya's 160 Australian staff have voluntarily accepted a week's unpaid leave to be spread over the coming year, according to recently appointed managing director Rob Wells.
(Credit: Business Objects)
"There is a strategy we had deployed a while ago to ask employees if they would like to take a week's leave," Wells told ZDNet.com.au late this afternoon.
Wells, who took up his spot with Avaya just six weeks ago, said it was a global initiative, which also involved asking its senior executives to take three weeks' unpaid leave. "The offer was positioned as, let's think of ways to help the company at this time. This is one of the least impactful ways to do that," Wells explained.
The call centre and IP telephony maker, based in North Ryde, has 160 staff in total with around 60 in research and development. The outlook in terms of staff numbers was unclear at this stage, according to Wells, who said the future was hard to predict.
The company, which was acquired by private equity firms TPG Capital and Silver Lake in May 2007 for US$8.2 billion, is partway through its transformation to a pure channel business.
In support of this Avaya has introduced what Wells called its "high touch" team, consisting of a dozen staff to deal with its largest customers, which includes federal government clients such as the Australian Federal Police. Other major clients signed up with Avaya include St George Bank.
Wells, who had left business intelligence software maker Business Objects following its acquisition by SAP, said the channel model was the "perfect business model" and denied it was a cost-saving initiative.
"Clearly we need growth, so our strategy is all about ensuring we are positioned to grow this business. That's really what the architecture of this high touch model is about," he said.
The push for a pure channel model strategy — a model which Avaya had previously eschewed — was understood to be a key reason behind former Avaya South Pacific MD Carlton Taya's sudden departure from the company earlier this year.
Avaya today also announced a new customer eWay, an internet payments gateway provider. The value of the deal was not disclosed.