Amex-IBM staff transfer 'win-win'

American Express's transfer of its New Zealand IT staff to IBM is a "win-win" for them, says Amex regional director Robin Nicholson.

American Express’ transfer of its New Zealand IT staff to IBM is a “win-win” for them, says Amex regional director Robin Nicholson.

Nicholson visited the credit card company’s Auckland-based staff last week to explain the workings of the global $US4 billion, seven-year IT contract with IBM Global Services, which was announced earlier this month.

About 220 Amex IT employees across the region, including Japan, will move over to IBM in June through the deal. This includes 90 in Australia, but just three of the 125 total staff employed in Auckland.

“They will walk out on June 1 as American Express employees and come back on June 2 as IBM employees,” says Sydney-based Nicholson, who also joins IBM.

Globally the New York-based credit card company will continue to oversee its applications, network personnel and IT strategy, while handing over the reins of its IT infrastructure — including some 2000 operations workers, tech support staffers and programmers — to IBM. IBM employs 800 people in New Zealand and about 7000 in Australia.

The local IBM companies will be working with local Amex companies on local agreements, says Nicholson. “IBM will work out what the trio [of IT staff] do and look at service levels,” he says.

“I think it’s a win-win for Amex employees. Amex is a travel-related company. We are not an IT company. Now, we will be working for a sole IT company, which offers much better career opportunities for IT people,” he says.

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