RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The Big Blue portion of Lenovo is going to be a lot smaller when the computer company finishes its restructuring that was announced on Thursday.

The shedding of blue blood starts in the Triangle where between 300 and 350 former IBM-ers will lose their jobs by the end of the month. But the bleeding doesn’t stop there.

“A great percentage” of the 1,000 layoffs Lenovo will make are former IBM employees, a Lenovo spokesman acknowledged to The Rocky Mountain News.

Lenovo is moving jobs to North Carolina as a result of the reorganization outlined by Chief Executive Officer William Amelio. But how many is not known, company spokespeople acknowledged Thursday.

The number of IBM-ers could fall even further if people offered the chance to relocate to the Triangle choose not to do so. Some 70 people in Purchase, NY where Lenovo currently has its headquarters, and another 50 or so in Boulder CO where Lenovo has a former IBM logistics facilities will be offered the opportunity to move to North Carolina. But how many will do so is unknown. Also, an unspecified number of workers are located in Atlanta where IBM maintained a call center. That operation is being moved to RTP.

When Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computing division last May for $1.25 billion, the new Lenovo Group featured some 20,000 employees, including 10,000 or so from IBM.

Amelio stressed in a conference call that the changes he ordered would make Lenovo “a leaner and stronger company” that will “innovate and lead”. Lenovo is now “a company positioned to win,” he said.

Ray Gorman, a former IBM-er who is now Lenovo’s director of external affairs, put a positive spin on the changes, especially as they affect North Carolina.

“One thing lost in all of this is that we are actually consolidating our U.S. headquarters in RTP,” Gorman said, stressing the fact that Lenovo remained committed to building its new 500,000 square foot headquarters in Morrisville. “We are committed to North Carolina, and in the long term we are bullish about the employment population.”

“This is a short-term action designed to insure long-term growth,” he added, referring to the reorganization. “Taking these actions now is the best way to insure job creation.”

State and Morrisville officials served notice Thursday that if Lenovo doesn’t deliver on promises of 400 new jobs then more than $10 million in promised tax incentives for its new HQ would be at risk. Gorman pointed out that Lenovo has not received any funds yet.

Pointing out that Lenovo remains committed to moving into its new headquarters in early 2007, Gorman added: “This (reorganization) is a short-term action designed to insure long-term growth. Taking these actions now is the best way to insure job creation.”