Hewlett-Packard's move to chop about 24,600 jobs worldwide — following its US$13.9 billion EDS buy — is unlikely to have much impact on the merged group's local operations, according to Australian Taxation Office chief information officer Bill Gibson.
ATO CIO Bill Gibson
"The good thing is Australia is a long way away from that," said Gibson, when asked if the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) was concerned about the cuts, which have had some UK public sector unions warning of a potential decline in the level of IT services provided.
Gibson said in his opinion, EDS in Australia was "a fairly efficient and lean organisation" that had already had to "skinny" down in tough times.
The CIO said the ATO, which is one of EDS' largest local clients, had not had a formal briefing from HP after the acquisition. "But we've had assurances from their senior management, the CEO, that what is happening in the US and UK; don't assume it's going to have to happen [here]," he said.
On the contrary, Gibson said the EDS acquisition offered positives to the huge agency. "The merger of HP and EDS in Australia will only benefit me," he said. "I end up with a supplier who is larger, has access therefore to a greater amount of capability and intellectual property."
The CIO said ATO had already seen positive benefits from bringing on some HP staff into projects previously managed solely by EDS.
So far, both HP and EDS have remained silent on what the Australian impact of the cuts will be, or what the merged organisation would look like in Australia. On 16 September, an HP Australia spokesperson said it was "too early" even to comment on which executive would lead the combined group locally, or what the reporting lines will be.
Meanwhile, the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia (APESMA), which counts a large amount of local EDS staff among its members, has demanded to be told the local implication of the cuts.
ZDNet.com.au's Brett Winterford contributed to this article.