New HP voodoos away Kiwi job cuts

Hewlett-Packard claims to be winning deals in New Zealand worth millions, the suggestion being that sufficient momentum could help it avoid large staff cuts.

Hewlett-Packard claims to be winning deals in New Zealand worth millions, the suggestion being that sufficient momentum could help it avoid large staff cuts.

A bullish Russell Hewitt says the new organisation, launched on May 7, had a “terrific” first week, scoring four major pieces of business.

The enthusiasm of the new chief executive comes as HP globally began notifying staff outside the US of impending job cuts. The company has floated targets of about 10% of total staff or around 15,000 people worldwide, though Australasian boss Paul Brandling has suggested job losses in the region could be as high as 15%. HP NZ is unsure of when any local layoffs will have to be implemented. Details of the workforce reduction programme and associated changes outside the US will be provided at a briefing on June 4.

Hewitt was unaware of the briefing and says HP NZ, which now employs about 600 staff and has annual revenues of $500 million, will deal with any layoffs with respect for the individual. “That will be between us [managers] and [employees], if there are any employees affected. We are not anywhere near that position [of saying who or how many may go]. The objective is to protect the people,” he says. He declined to speculate about whether HP New Zealand may escape any redundancies.

Hewitt says the company is focusing on what he calls the go-to-market model and the design of the new organisation, which is being managed country by country.

“I couldn’t be happier with the first week of trading. The new company has already put joint bids on the table and is securing business under the new regime. Maybe we are luckier in New Zealand [than elsewhere],” Hewitt says. He wouldn’t immediately identify the customers.

Last week, HP chief executive Carly Fiorina said the new HP had made an encouraging start. But she reported revenues for the second quarter in the Asia-Pacific region as being 13% down on a year ago, blaming sharp revenue declines in the biggest markets of Japan and China.

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