The Buzz: February 10, 2003

The Buzz: February 10, 2003

WorldCom Keeps on Making Cuts

Beleaguered telecommunications service provider WorldCom last week said it is cutting 5,000 jobs, closing some facilities and renegotiating supplier contracts, all in an effort to trim $2.5 billion in costs.

The company, which employed about 90,000 people in 2000, currently has a staff of about 60,000. The cuts will hit corporate and administrative employees. Recently installed CEO Michael Capellas would like to see a 13 percent reduction in sales, general and administrative expenses resulting from last week’s announcement.

Plattner Making Way for Agassi

Hasso Plattner, SAP’S co-chairman and co-CEO, will announce his retirement in the next year or two, the company confirmed last week. While rumors of Plattner’s retirement have swirled for two years, speculation intensified after a board meeting last week in which Plattner handed over some of his daily technology responsibilities to Shai Agassi.

Plattner, 59, will cede some of his operational responsibilities to Agassi, while maintaining control of corporate strategy, marketing and communications. Agassi, 34, an executive board member, will become responsible for all technology development.

Known as SAP’s “technology guru,” Plattner co-founded the company 31 years ago. It is likely that the supervisory board will appoint Henning Kagermann, current co-chair and co-CEO, to head SAP when Plattner steps down, an SAP spokeswoman said.

Ericsson Names President, CEO

Wireless telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson last week named Carl-Henric Svanberg its new CEO and president. Effective April 8, Svanberg will replace Kurt Hellstrom, who announced his retirement last week.

Ericsson has not seen a profit for seven straight quarters, although Hellstrom said in an earnings report last week that the company plans to return to profit “at some point” this year. Svanberg is CEO of Assa Abloy, a large lock maker.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in eWEEK.