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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—June 14, 2014

  • Bloomberg:

    IBM Said Near Deal With Globalfoundries for Chip-Making. By Alex Sherman, Ian King and Alex Barinka. Excerpts: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) is nearing a deal with Globalfoundries Inc. for its chip-manufacturing business, according to people familiar with the matter, after searching for a buyer for the money-losing unit since last year.

    Globalfoundries is primarily interested in acquiring IBM’s engineers and intellectual property rather than manufacturing facilities, which have little value as they are more than a decade old, said people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Globalfoundries, which has its own plant in New York state and a technology joint development project with IBM, will act as a supplier for IBM’s microprocessors, the people said. Terms of the deal weren’t available.

  • The Times of India:

    IBM spends heavily on contract staffing in India. By Shilpa Phadnis. Excerpts: IBM is the biggest spender on IT contract workforce hiring in India, and the spend is almost double that of the next biggest spenders. The New Yorkbased technology company spends over $150 million annually to hire contract IT staff, which as per estimates translates to more than 15% of its overall workforce. ...

    IT and technology companies hire contract workers to beat margin pressures, maintain lean benches, and facilitate just-in-time hiring in today's highly volatile market. Contract hiring provides quick access to skilled technical people and is a costeffective alternative to supplement existing IT staff without incurring recruitment or training costs.

  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM: Rough Ride To 2015 $20 EPS. By Jeff Bailey. Excerpts: Filling the shoes of a super-successful, long-time CEO can be beyond tough. Just ask Jeffrey Immelt at General Electric, who followed the the Jack Welch show; Donald Thompson, still trying to step out from the shadow of his predecessor at McDonald’s, miracle worker Jim Skinner; and now poor Ginni Rometty at International Business Machines, left to make good on a 2015 $20 EPS promise her predecessor Sam Palmisano left behind for her.

    What Palmisano didn’t leave behind was any revenue momentum.

    So Rometty is going to have to squeeze costs and goose the per-share number with liberal use of stock buybacks, which have long been part of the IBM playbook.

  • Harvard Business Review:

    Managing Investors. An Interview with Sam Palmisano. By Justin Fox. Excerpts: During his decade as CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano didn’t say a lot in public about the financial markets and their impact on his decision making. He didn’t say a lot in public, period. He’d made a conscious choice to keep a low profile, and he began breaking with that choice only toward the end of his tenure.

    Behind the scenes, though, Palmisano, then-CFO Mark Loughridge, and others at IBM were engaged in a sustained effort to win over Wall Street on their own terms. At its core was what Palmisano calls “the model,” a rolling multiyear road map for earnings growth and cash generation. IBM committed to increase earnings per share from $6 in 2006 to $10 in 2010, described the mix of growth and cost-cutting necessary to achieve that goal, and invited investors to judge its process along the way. It also used the metrics in the model to shape employee compensation. ...

    Was it the right way to run a company? Palmisano thinks so. He’s not a big critic of Wall Street, just of corporate management teams that don’t deal with it intelligently. Since stepping down as IBM’s chairman, in October 2012, he has been spreading his ideas about good management by coaching CEOs, and in April 2014 he launched the Center for Global Enterprise, a nonprofit devoted to the study of the contemporary corporation. He’s also a member of Exxon Mobil’s board of directors.

    Note: A subscription or one-time fee is required to read the interview. However, the article and Mr. Palmisano's comments are mentioned in the BusinessWeek article The Trouble with IBM.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Note: At the time of this posting, Glassdoor's IBM reviews forums appears to be broken as the last review shown is dated March 28, 2014.
  • New York Times:

    Brokers Fight Rule to Favor Best Interests of Customers. By Tara Siegel Bernard. Excerpts: Amid fierce pushback from the financial services industry, the Labor Department, which oversees retirement plans, recently delayed releasing a revised proposal that would require a broader group of professionals to put their clients’ interest ahead of their own when dealing with their retirement accounts. The department said it would release the proposed rule in January, according to its regulatory agenda, instead of this August. (Phyllis C. Borzi of the Labor Department, had signaled that it could miss the deadline.)

    “They have really been stymied by the financial industry, which is spending millions of dollars to fight this rule,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director at the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit consumer group. “All the Labor Department is trying to do is modernize a rule that is out of date.”

    The agency is trying to amend a 1975 rule, part of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, known as Erisa, which outlines when investment advisers become fiduciaries — the eye-glazing legal term describing brokers who must put their customers’ interests first. The rules are stricter for fiduciaries who handle consumers’ tax-advantaged retirement money compared to fiduciaries under federal securities law.

    But it is easy to avoid becoming a fiduciary under Erisa, consumer advocates say, because brokers must first meet a five-part test before they are required to follow the higher standard: If the advice is provided on a one-time basis, for instance, the rule does not apply. On top of that, the consumer and the broker must also “mutually agree” that the advice was the main reason for the investment decision.

  • Bloomberg:

    Retirees Suffer as $300 Billion 401(k) Rollover Boom Enriches Brokers. Kathleen Tarr says AT&T Inc. employees looked to her as “their de facto 401(k) expert.” Visiting their homes and offices, she advised them on their retirement plans as they called up balances on computer screens.

    Actually, Tarr worked for Royal Alliance Associates, a brokerage firm owned by insurer American International Group Inc. (AIG) She encouraged hundreds of departing AT&T employees to roll over their retirement money into the kind of risky high-commission investments that Wall Street’s self-regulatory agency warns against on its website.

    Tarr and her business partner reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in commissions and trips to the Bahamas and Florida resorts. Not all of her clients fared as well, and 37 of them have filed complaints against her, according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records reviewed by Bloomberg News. Tarr and Royal Alliance say the investment choices were appropriate. ...

    While retirees can generally leave their savings in 401(k) plans, financial firms entice them with cold calls, Internet ads, storefront signs and cash incentives to switch to IRAs. They tout the advantage of the IRA’s wide variety of investment choices over the typical 401(k) plan’s limited menu.

    Yet that appeal can also be a pitfall for retirees offered expensive and high-risk investments. IRAs often charge higher fees than those associated with 401(k) plans, giving brokers an incentive to promote rollovers.

    “You’re going into the wild, wild west when you take your money out of a 401(k) and put it into an IRA,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director of the Pension Rights Center, a Washington-based group representing retirees. ...

    The U.S. Labor Department has said it will propose rules in January that brokers and other advisers act in clients’ best interests during rollovers, a so-called fiduciary standard. The agency had announced a similar plan in 2010. Brokers are generally held to the lower standard of selling products that are suitable for their customers, meaning that they don’t have to put their clients’ interests first as long as they select appropriate investments. In January, Finra, the Wall Street self-policing group, warned members that it would heighten its scrutiny of IRA rollovers.

    The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, which represents brokers, banks and money managers, opposes stricter regulation. It would hurt commission-based brokers, limiting consumer choice, according to the group. Disclosure rules are already sufficient to protect customers, said Ira Hammerman, the association’s executive vice president and general counsel.

  • The Commonwealth Fund:

    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally. Excerpt: The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity. In this edition of Mirror, Mirror, the United Kingdom ranks first, followed closely by Switzerland (Exhibit ES-1).
  • New York Times:

    Private Health Care Exchanges Enroll More Than Predicted. By Ann Carrns. Excerpts: Employers are moving more quickly than forecasted to offer health insurance to their workers through private exchanges, according to new data from Accenture, a consulting firm.

    Three million people signed up for workplace health coverage for this year through private exchanges, Accenture said. That’s roughly three times the number of people the firm had estimated last fall would enroll for coverage through the private exchanges — online systems that are separate from the state and federal health insurance marketplaces. ...

    Private exchanges are similar to the public marketplaces, but are offered by employers to their employees. Consulting companies, including Aon Hewitt, Mercer, Towers Watson and Buck Consultants, operate private exchanges, and some insurers also offer their own versions. Walgreen and Sears, for instance, participate in Aon Hewitt’s offering, known as the Corporate Health Exchange.

    Some employers are shifting employees to the exchanges to control costs and reduce administrative burdens, and to give workers more plans to choose from. (The idea is that offering plans from multiple insurers will help lower costs through competition.) While details of the exchanges vary, companies typically allocate a specific amount for employees to spend on health insurance, and then workers choose from a menu of options.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert. This week's topics include:
    • Leaders in Washington Pushing to Strengthen and Expand Social Security
    • Wild Week in Virginia Shifts Political Landscape
    • Activists Plan Events in Response to ALEC’s Annual Meeting in Dallas
    • Millennials May Be Headed For Retirement Hardship
    • North Carolina Alliance Holds Golf Tournament, Sees Great Results
New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 06/9/14:

    It's absolutely true that depending upon what area of IBM you work in, it ranges from dismal (SWG) to the fires of hell (GBS IGA). -Anonymous-
  • Comment 06/10/14:

    -Dave- No. Once your manager has your badge, verifies your corporate credit card is $0 balance, collects your laptop, and informs HR, and you are removed from CERIS by EOD, you are paid up till you are "shown the door". IBM does not pay you for work not given even if you offer 2 weeks service before you leave. It's all up to IBM management and IBM management is paid to $ave all them $.001s to make Roadkill 2015. -IBM$ucks-
  • Comment 06/13/14:

    Can any x86 IBM employees who are affected by the Lenovo deal provide some details as to what the transfer will mean once you become a Lenovo employee. Will your years of service carry over? If you were getting 4 weeks of vacation will that carry over? If you where on the old pension, will that transfer to Lenvovo or will your pension stay with IBM? etc, etc. Or, have no details been released yet? -theDeal-
  • Comment 06/13/14:

    Please join the Alliance if you are viewing this site and have not joined yet. IBM has not announced another RA layoff/firing but you can bet one will happen before this year is out. Right now individual RAs (sniper firings based on PBC 3's) are still happening. We need to stop this madness. We have to be vigilant and united! The only way is to join the Alliance! -IBMUnionYES-
  • Comment 06/14/14:

    -theDeal- I do not know what the Lenovo deal will be. However when Printing Systems was sold to Ricoh they were considered resigned from IBM and qualified for IBM retirement benefits based on where they stood in the plan. For those eligible for full benefits they could start drawing if they wished. For those not eligible they were limited to the vested rights rules. Same with the FHA. Once they were with Ricoh they were under its plan which I believe is a 401K only plan. -anonymous_retiree-
  • Comment 06/14/14:

    FYI: IBM Wiccopee is IBM East Fishkill (EFK). IBM Burlington is IBM Essex Junction (BTV). -da_facts-

IBM Retiree Issues Comments

  • Comment 06/7/14:

    soon to be 55: I have some doubts that IBM will still be offering the PPA 'enhanced annuity' based on their current business situation brought on by Roadmap 2015. NOTHING SAYS IBM WILL GUARANTEE payment of the enhanced annuity. IBM might just renege on that promise like some retirement promises made to us like lifetime retirement medical and folks like me that got our FHA totally rescinded! If the enhanced annuity option is not in a union contract then there is no protection or guarantee it will be around when the time comes to collect it when retired from IBM. -gone_before_55-
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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