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    Highlights for week ending June 22, 2002
  • CNET: IBM to trim research jobs. Excerpt: "In an effort to cut costs, the research arm of Big Blue will be scaling back some projects considered nonessential. An IBM representative declined to comment on the exact number, but sources say that roughly 160 jobs will disappear."

  • Annex Research: More Job Cuts Rumored at IBM Research, in Germany. Big Blue Salami. Butchering Instead of Cutting: Creeping Layoffs Seen as Creepy Layoffs. Excerpt: "The IBM stock closed at $73.30 today (June 19), only a notch above its 52-week low of $73.25, set last Friday (June 14). Actually, these are 31-month lows. IBM last traded in the $73 range on Nov. 4, 1998, when it closed at $73.16. The former IBM CEO must be laughing all the way to the bank. But the rest of the IBM shareholders may not feel the same way. They have seen the value of their stock drop by about $90 billion this year alone [IBM is down 42% since its high on Jan. 9, versus a 2% drop for Dow Jones Industrials (DJI) during the same period. IBM is a part of the DJI]. The bulk of Lou Gerstner's insider sales occurred after that date (see "Sir Lou OutLayed Lay!", Apr. 1, 2002). The former IBM CEO must be laughing all the way to the bank. But the rest of the IBM shareholders may not feel the same way. They have seen the value of their stock drop by about $90 billion this year alone [IBM is down 42% since its high on Jan. 9, versus a 2% drop for Dow Jones Industrials (DJI) during the same period. IBM is a part of the DJI]."

  • Business Week: 2001 S&P Core Earnings. Excerpt: "How much does a company truly make? It's hard to tell these days. To boost the performance of their stocks, companies have come up with a slew of self-defined 'pro-forma' numbers that put their financials in a favorable light. Now ratings agency Standard & Poor's has devised a truer measure known as Core Earnings." See Business Week's analysis of stated vs. core earnings for companies in the S&P 500, including IBM... (Editor's note: According to Business Week, IBM's "traditional earnings" in 2001 were $7,723 Million. IBM's "core earnings" in 2001 were $4,854 Million, for a difference of $2,869 Million).

  • James Leas: Why the Layoffs? Excerpt: "In other words, revenue and profit from real company operations have been little better than static, albeit at a very high level. Executives have pushed profit reports up to double digits by accounting rule trickery, stock buybacks, plant sales, and layoffs to reach their profit targets. There are two conclusions: First the high level of sales and profits mean no layoffs were needed. Second, the static growth in sales and profits means executives were not truly entitled to incentive bonuses. Yet, during a period when IBM has been laying off thousands of employees, cutting pensions, and boosting costs for retirees’ medical, one individual at IBM raked in hundreds of millions. In other words, rather than saving the company money, there has simply been an enormous shift of resources from tens of thousands of workers to one person. That person is IBM Chairman Lou Gerstner."

  • Alliance@IBM Web site: Questions and Answers for current employees and those who've lost their jobs.

  • "ZC3PO" offers advice for those who are thinking of working for IBM...

  • "betteroff_out" comments on his experience after leaving IBM four years ago. Excerpt: "When I started at IBM in the early 80's, I used to think there were two types of people. Those that work for IBM and those that want to work for IBM. Presently, I believe that they are two types of people. Those that don't work for IBM and those that wish they didn't work for IBM."
  • A former employee of IBM Research describes the terms of his departure from IBM...

  • SatireWire (humor): Remaining U.S. CEOs Make a Break For It. Band of Roving Chief Executives Spotted Miles from Mexican Border. Excerpt: " Calling themselves the CEOnistas, the chief executives were first spotted last night along the Rio Grande River near Quemado, where they bought each of the town's 320 residents by borrowing against pension fund gains. By late this morning, the CEOnistas had arbitrarily inflated Quemado's population to 960, and declared a 200 percent profit for the fiscal second quarter."

  • Kiplinger (courtesy of International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans): EEOC To Reverse Course On Retiree Health Plans. Excerpts: "In a 180-degree reversal of the policy under the Clinton administration, the EEOC later this year will make it clear that employers do NOT violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) if they reduce health benefits for retirees when the former employees become eligible for Medicare at age 65." ... "The EEOC's new position represents a big win for employers, one they've been lobbying for since George W. Bush became president. Not only does it mean they don't have to worry about the EEOC scrutinizing their retiree health plans, it also means employers will have an extra weapon should they face age discrimination lawsuits concerning retiree health care plans."

  • Dilbert (humor). View cartoon on Dilbert.com...

  • Associated Press: Enron Execs Reap $744 Million. Excerpts: "Top Enron Corp. workers reaped $744 million in payments and stock in the year leading up to its bankruptcy filing, the company disclosed late Monday. Representatives of former workers and shareholders responded angrily, accusing the 144 senior managers of essentially raiding Enron's coffers while leaving their clients with relatively little." ... "Combined, this group of high-profile individuals, socked away $193.7 million in the 12 months before Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dec. 2." ... " The more than 4,500 people who lost their jobs when Enron filed for bankruptcy have received a combined $43 million in severance and a tentative agreement has been reached whereby they would receive an additional $30 million or so."
  • USA Today Book Review: The Great 401(k) Hoax. Excerpt: "The Great 401(k) Hoax is a hard-hitting evaluation of 401(k) plans, and charges they are Corporate America's way of sidestepping providing pensions for employees. William Wolman, a senior contributing editor at Business Week magazine, and Anne Colamosca, a former staff writer at Business Week, deliver a disturbing message. Be prepared. It's a bleak tale, but it couldn't be more engrossing."

  • Philadelphia Inquirer: Age-bias claims up 23% over two years. Excerpts: "Executive Transition Group Inc. chief executive officer Michael McGinn - a former priest who has not only laid off people but also found jobs for them in his career as an outplacement manager - said downsizing companies plot layoff strategies carefully. They typically create a matrix listing each person's age, race and gender - making sure the layoffs are carefully spread among those categories, he said."

  • Wall Street Journal: Why boardroom bad guys have now emerged en masse. The 1990s stock bubble magnified shifts in business mores. Excerpt: "One culprit was stock options, which gave executives huge incentives to boost near-term share prices regardless of long-term consequences. No CEO pay package seemed to strike any board of directors as too big. These incentives helped turn the widely practiced art of earnings management — making sure profits meet or barely exceed Wall Street expectations — into a gross distortion of reality at some companies."

  • Chicago Sun-Times: Coverage causes pain. Excerpts: "Fragile corporate balance sheets and skyrocketing costs for health care and prescription drugs are forcing old-line businesses such as Sears, Roebuck and Co., Boeing Co. and Navistar International Corp. to rethink their policies of providing health care coverage to current and future retirees. Indeed, Chicago-based Boeing Co. has informed non-union salaried employees (emphasis added by editor of this site) hired within the last four years that the company will provide no health care benefits when they retire. "
  • Dow Jones: Morgan Stanley Quietly Lobbies to Cut Power of State Regulators. Excerpts: "A high-profile bid by Morgan Stanley (MWD) to decrease the power of state securities regulators, politely blunted in Washington, has gotten a ruder reception closer to home, Friday's Wall Street Journal reported." ... "'This is a perversion of American law,' asserts Eliot Spitzer, New York attorney general. 'The only good this does is that it helps Phil Purcell and Morgan Stanley because he wants to be excused from the scrutiny that he's subject to -- and it won't work'."

  • "justa_bean_counter" posts data from IBM's Form 5500 submissions showing salary increases broken down by age group for the years 1992 to 2000.
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
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