HP moves to take control of EDS NZ

Hewlett-Packard has installed its own directors on the board of EDS New Zealand, matching moves made across the Tasman to seal HP's control of its US$13.9 billion (NZ$23.6 billion) acquisition.

A HP spokeswoman says it is company policy that HP employees be appointed to the company directorship of acquired companies.

"At this moment in time both HP New Zealand and EDS New Zealand remain as separate legal entities," she says.

According to company office records, Chad Barton, EDS New Zealand's chief financial officer, resigned his directorship on September 25. Also resigning his directorship, on the same day, was Alfonso Gomez, who was acting managing director of EDS since former managing director Steve Murray resigned in April.

They have been replaced by Paul Brandling and Keith Watson.

Brandling is HP's Australian managing director, while Watson fills that role in New Zealand.

In a statement on the changes made in Australia, an EDS spokeswoman said the business roles of executives in the two organizations remained unchanged.

In September, HP issued a statement it would seek headcount reductions of 7.5% from the merging of the two companies. If that applied to New Zealand, it would mean up to 250 employees of the combined HP-EDS could face the axe.

However, HP played down the local impact of the plan, saying significant differences between HP's global and New Zealand businesses could shelter local employees from the full force of the program.

IDC senior analyst Ullrich Loeffler told Computerworld that contractors could be the first target of any such cull, followed by role duplications in areas such as accounting, administration, marketing and management.

In Australia, a merger-related restructuring saw 75 jobs cut this month, according to a report in The Australian newspaper. However, this was attributed to falling workloads after EDS took revenue hits from customers such as the Commonwealth Bank, Australian Taxation Office and Defence.

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