IBM reportedly plans to “redeploy” about 30,000 employees — a third of its global workforce — this year.
The reassignments, and in some cases layoffs, will come from the Global Technology Services division, according to The Register, which first reported the news and cited company insiders. The GTS business group primarily sells hardware and infrastructure consulting services.
Big Blue also redeployed its CFO, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Martin Schroeter, former senior vice president and chief financial officer, as of Jan. 11 now serves as SVP global markets, according to the document. Meanwhile James Kavanaugh, former SVP of finance and operations, is the company’s new CFO.
“We find the move curious since Mr. Schroeter has been CFO for about four years, which we would consider a short period of time for IBM,” wrote BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman in a research note. “We are not sure how to read the transition, though. On the positive side, IBM could be intentionally broadening his background to enable Martin to take on larger roles over time. In contrast, we could interpret such a move as a sign of dissatisfaction on certain projects such as cost reductions.”
IBM did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Register published an internal memo attributed to IBM that says the “total headcount impacted” by the redeployment efforts will be 30,900 employees. This includes 9,300 that will be reassigned within IBM, and 10,100 that it describes as “Attrition w/o backfill.”
Despite paying $3.5 billion to buy consulting firm PWC in 2002, IBM also hired consultant Bain & Company to help with its GTS restructuring, according to the Register.
The company, which has seen 22 straight quarters of declining profits, will report its fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 18.
The reported restructuring did not change BMO Capital Markets’ ratings, estimates, or price target, Bachman wrote. The firm raised its calendar year 2018 earnings per share forecast for IBM to $13.73 from $13.62.