Lenovo in recent years has turned the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas into one big party – from award-winning products to champagne-laced kickoffs.
But today rain fell in the form of news that Lenovo is
Lenovo vets may want to use one of the company’s latest, big Las Vegas hits (a “Selfie Flash”) for a group shot with friends. Many may not be around the growing Lenovo campus in Morrisville and the nearby server business campus much longer. (Some 4,000 of Lenovo’s 54,000 global employees are based in the Triangle and Triad.)
While execs celebrate in Vegas, workers are mulling whether to take the money of a buyout and run or face the possibility of being laid off.
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WRAL TechWire reported earlier today that Lenovo is offering a voluntary buyout package to veteran workers across multiple business units. The offers are designed to keep Lenovo “competitive,” said Lenovo’s Ray Gorman in confirming the buyout package.
He declined to comment on whether layoffs might follow if not enough people take the offer. He also said no number had been set in terms of a buyout target.
But how many companies ever roll out a buyout plan without an end game in mind?
The number crunchers at Lenovo have most likely outlined targets for headcount reduction, cost reduction, benefits reduction, and more. Why else make the offer?
Buyouts aren’t cheap.
Gorman said the details of the offer are “confidential.”
However, WRAL TechWire has been told that the buyout includes up to a year’s salary AND health insurance for a year (that’s not cheap) for veterans with 15 years or more in experience.
Technology workers don’t work for pennies, so if veteran IBMers (part of the x86 business unit bought by Lenovo last year) in the triangle and other Lenovo vets brought onboard by the Lenovo-IBM PC deal a decade ago decide to cash out, well …
Each package could be six figures in total cost.
Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal played off a digestion theme in an interview with Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing before the buyout news broke.
“After gulping down Motorola Mobility and an International Business Machines Corp. unit last year, Lenovo Group Ltd. Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing has turned his attention to digesting,” The Journal reported.
“Now we need to pay more attention to the integration,” Yang said.
Integration with heartburn.
Yang is well known for caring deeply about Lenovo employees. He has given back parts of his own annual bonus in the past to line workers. He has told his executive teams that he is interested in people, not hardware, when making acquisitions.
But the big deals in 2014 for IBM’s x86 group and Google Motorola Mobility not only jacked up headcount (some 10 percent) but also costs. Neither business unit is profitable.
Yang says they will be in the near future.
But for the time being, the buyout report confirms that even fast-growing Lenovo must deal with rising costs in a cut-throat business where margins are anorexic.