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11 bosses who ordered the biggest layoffs in business history

Last updated on: July 18, 2014 13:08 IST

11 bosses who ordered the biggest layoffs in business history

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the company’s biggest round of layoffs in its history.

The company plans to cut 18,000 jobs within the next year. This is about 14 per cent of the company's 125,000 employees.

Here are 11 bosses who ordered the biggest layoffs in business history.

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Image: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Photographs: Reuters

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Daimler Chrysler

Rank: 11

No. of employees laid off: 26,000

Date of layoff: January 2001

When the layoffs were announced Chrysler had got a new CEO - Dieter Zetsche.

The layoffs were part of the restructuring to bring the ailing carmaker back to profitability. The layoff led to reduction of about 20 per cent of Chrysler's work force.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Hewlett-Packard

Rank: 10

No. of employees laid off: 27000

Date of layoff: May 2012

When the layoffs were announced Meg Whitman was the CEO.

Battered by declining profits and revenues, the company went for a restructuring and announced the layoff that would save $3 billion to $3.5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

When announced, this was 8 per cent of the total workforce of the company.

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Photographs: Reuters

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U.S. Postal Service

Rank: 9

No. of employees laid off: 30,000

Date of layoff: March 2010

The layoffs were done when Patrick R. Donahoe was the Postmaster General.

The U.S. Postal Service, US’ second-largest employer at that time, offered buyouts on to 30,000 jobs as it was grappling with declining mail volume and it wanted to embrace automation, according to Reuters.

The layoffs were part of the drive to cut costs by $6 billion in the financial year 2010-2011.

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Photographs: Reuters

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11 bosses who ordered the biggest layoffs in business history

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Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Rank: 8

No. of employees laid off: 30,000

Date of layoff: September 2011

Brian Moynihan was Chief Executive when the layoffs were announced.

After taking over Merrill Lynch, the new entity announced the significant job cuts as the two organisations had duplicate jobs. Both the company had significant overlaps in areas such as research and investment banking.

The layoffs amounted to more than 11 per cent of the combined firms’ global work force of 308,000 at that time, according to The New York Times.

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Photographs: Reuters

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11 bosses who ordered the biggest layoffs in business history

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Boeing

Rank: 7

No. of employees laid off: 31,000

Date of layoff: September 2001

Alan Mulally was the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The businesses were grappling with the economic slowdown in 2001 when terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Centre. Post the attacks, there was significant drop in air travel.

The commercial segment of Boeing felt the heat and went for job cuts.

Previously in December 1998 too, Boeing had fired 28,000 workers, according to 24/7 Wall St.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Boeing

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Ford

Rank: 6

No. of employees laid off: 35,000

Date of layoff: January 2002

The layoffs were announced under the leadership of William Clay Ford Jr., who was the Chairman and Chief Executive.

The economic slowdown of 2001 took a toll on Ford’s profits and revenues. At the same time the company was embroiled in a controversy about the safety of the popular Ford Explorer. The auto maker spent $3 billion to replace Firestone tires.

The job cuts included 12,000 manufacturing jobs and 3,500 early-retirement packages for managers.

Then-CEO Jacques Nasser also resigned late in 2001.

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Photographs: Reuters

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AT&T

Rank: 5

No. of employees laid off: 40,000

Date of layoff: January 1996

Robert Allen was the CEO when the layoffs happened.

The job cuts were part of a plan to spin out AT&T’s NCR and Lucent divisions, according to 24/7 Wall St.

Allen then said, “I am convinced that some downsizing was necessary to protect the jobs of the 270,000 people who will make up the three new companies.”

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Photographs: Reuters
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General Motors

Rank: 4

No. of employees laid off: 47,000

Date of layoff: February 2009

Rick Wagoner was the Chairman and CEO of the company during this period.

The global financial crisis of 2008 was probably the worst period in the history of US auto industry.

The auto industry in the US was already reeling under the pressure of several years of declining sales and scarce availability of credit led to a more widespread crisis.

The situation became so bad that general Motors and Chrysler had to file for bankruptcy.

Finally the government rescued the company and helped them avert bankruptcy.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Citigroup

Rank: 3

No. of employees laid off: 50,000

Date of layoff: November 2008

The company was headed by Vikram Pandit during the time of layoffs.

The financial crisis left Citigroup in a really bad shape. To cut costs and weather the credit crisis, the bank announced the massive job cuts.

This helped the company reduce its workforce to approximately 300,000 employees.

CNN quoted Vikram Pandit telling employees: "There is nothing easy about these decisions and the impact on our people. We do this because we must and not because we want to."

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Photographs: Reuters

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Sears/K-Mart

Rank: 2

No. of employees laid off: 50,000

Date of layoff: January 1993

The plan was carried uder the leadership of Arthur C. Martinez, who was the Chairman.

Sears and Kmart went through a series of job cuts each before they merged in 2005, and long before the retail company’s current severe trouble, according 24/7 Wall St.

At the time of the merger, the expected savings from the marriage were $500 million a year. According to media reports, the company also closed 113 retail stores.

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Photographs: Reuters

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IBM

Rank: 1

No. of employees laid off: 60,000

Date of layoff: July 1993

Louis V. Gerstner Jr., was just appointed as the chairman of IBM when the layoffs happened.

The jobs cuts were part of the drive to save $8.9 billion. According to 24/7 Wall St. the workforce reduction and cost cuts saved IBM $4 billion a year.

 


Photographs: Reuters

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