In the aftermath of CenturyLink’s purchase of Level 3, CenturyLink now says it plans to cut about 2 percent of its workforce, or about 1,000 jobs.
“The combination of two large companies creates redundant positions that must be addressed to remain competitive,” according to emailed comments from CenturyLink to SDxCentral. “In addition, as part of our ongoing efforts to deliver high levels of customer service, we are implementing best practices and increasing automation. As a result of these two factors, we are reducing our workforce by approximately 2 percent.”
The company didn’t elaborate on precisely which jobs would be affected. The comment about “increasing automation” in customer service could refer to some call center jobs or possibly installer jobs, as well. The company is already in the process of laying off redundant lawyers.
The union representative for the district that represents 11,000 workers at CenturyLink shot back at the news in a statement. “CenturyLink has made its priorities clear. Instead of looking out for their customers and employees, they are chasing short-term gains in order to boost stock prices and put more money in the pockets of their large shareholders and top executives,” said Brenda Roberts, VP of Communications Workers of America District 7.
The union laid a lot of the blame for layoffs at the feet of outgoing CEO Glen Post, who earned $14.7 million in total compensation last year. But sources have told SDxCentral that Post actually avoided layoffs during his 26-year tenure as CEO. Conversely, Level 3 has conducted numerous layoffs during its existence.
Post will retire after next week’s shareholders meeting. At that time Jeff Storey, who served as the president and CEO of Level 3 since 2013 — and who has been serving at COO of CenturyLink — will take over as CenturyLink’s CEO.
Post had originally planned to retire on January 1, 2019. But in February, after an awkward earnings call with investors in which Post and Storey seemed to jockey for control of the call, Post announced he was accelerating the date of his retirement.
Although Monroe, Louisiana-based CenturyLink purchased Denver-based Level 3, it almost seems as if it were the reverse in terms of the executives who are leading the company. In addition to Jeff Storey as CEO, Sunit Patel serves as the chief financial officer for CenturyLink, a role which he held for more than 14 years at Level 3 prior to the merger. And Edward Morche serves as president of the company’s important strategic enterprise and government markets business. Morche had been with Level 3 since 2001.
However, CenturyLink’s CTO Aamir Hussain is continuing in that role after the merger. Both CenturyLink and the former Level 3 have been active in software-defined networking (SDN) advancements.