July 13, 2006 11:10 AM PDT

Intel to ax 1,000 managers

Intel will begin cutting about 1,000 manager jobs worldwide this week as part of an effort to become more competitive.

"This step is important because it addresses a key problem we've found in our efficiency analysis: slow and ineffective decision-making, resulting, in part, from too many management layers," Chief Executive Paul Otellini told employees in a memo sent out Thursday and seen by CNET News.com.

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy confirmed the layoffs Thursday, saying they would "both reduce costs and improve decision-making and communications." He didn't disclose the financial costs or benefits of the cuts, but said Intel plans to share more details Wednesday when it discusses financial results for the last quarter.

The restructuring and regrouping effort comes after two years of sluggish performance at Intel. In 2004, the company had to delay or cancel a number of products. In 2005, Intel steadily lost market share to rival Advance Micro Devices.

"Intel has been besieged by slowing PC market demand and uncharacteristically fierce competition from rival AMD. The primary concerns facing Intel's operations are declining revenues and profitability," said Martin Kariithi, an analyst at Technology Business Review.

The move, along with the sale of some communications processor assets to Marvell Technology Group in June, is part of an efficiency review Intel launched in April to become more competitive. More cuts are likely as a result of the review, Otellini said.

"You should expect that we will continue to take actions, including selective reductions, as we complete analyses and decisions about investments, expense levels and organizational structures," Otellini said in the memo. "Over the last five years at Intel, the number of managers has grown faster than our overall employee population. Our efficiency analysis and industry benchmarking have shown that we have too many management layers, top to bottom, to be effective."

Kariithi estimated that the revenue per Intel employee dropped from $408,175 in the fourth quarter of 2005 to $371,075 in the first quarter of 2006, but he expects another layoff to be announced during the financial results announcement.

To return revenue per employee to where it was a year ago, Kariithi said, Intel will have to lay off 10 percent of its staff--about 10,000 people.

Although AMD has been gaining share against its rival, it has had its own difficulties as well. Last week, the company announced revenue of $1.21 billion, significantly less than the $1.3 billion average expected by analysts and a 9 percent decrease over the first quarter.

Most managers losing their jobs will be notified Thursday and Friday, Otellini said, and will get a minimum of three months' separation pay.

Henri Richard, executive vice president of sales and marketing at AMD, earlier this year said that AMD made some of its gains in part because of Intel's complacency. Characterizing Intel as fat and sluggish has become a recurring theme with AMD.

Institutional intertia
In an interview Wednesday, Thomas Sonderman, director of automated precision manufacturing at AMD, said that the chipmaker realized in the 1990s that it never would be able to have as large a factory footprint as Intel. As a result, it optimized what it could do in a single factory.

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"We didn't have the luxury to be fat, dumb and happy," he said.

Otellini rebuffed the notion that Intel had become self-satisfied earlier this year. Still, Intel has had trouble overcoming institutional inertia. In early 2004, CNET News.com asked then-CEO Craig Barrett and Otellini if the company's emerging problems were the result of overconfidence. The two said no, arguing that the problems that had emerged had fairly specific causes. A few months and a few more product problems later, Barrett issued an internal memo warning employees that the company had become somewhat complacent and needed to refocus.

Despite the warning, Intel didn't rebound. And employee head count went from about 85,000 at the end of 2004 to 100,000 at the end of 2005.

Otellini called for a thorough examination during the first-quarter earnings call in April. The project was then reiterated at a meeting with analysts.

The 90-day efficiency review began in late April and therefore should be complete in coming weeks. Mulloy declined to say when actions resulting from the review would be done because the company doesn't yet know, he said.

That review has already resulted in the sale of Intel's XScale communications and applications chip technology to Marvell. There have been some smaller actions from the review, Mulloy said, including the closure of a 19-person lab in Glasgow, Scotland.

Intel periodically conducts purges. After a mini downturn in 1998, the company reduced head count through voluntary departures and layoffs. After bulking up with several acquisitions in the dot-com era, the company subsequently whacked divisions and sold off other groups.

In Thursday's memo, Otellini sought to fan Intel employees' competitive fires.

"We have done extremely well over the past 25 years of the PC era. But we need to adjust now for where our industry is going. Competition will intensify across our product lines. Pricing will be aggressive," he said. "Our objective, and our destiny, is to refashion Intel now while we have the means and the time to do so, and ensure we continue to remain No. 1."

See more CNET content tagged:
Paul Otellini, layoff, Intel, AMD, decision-making

8 comments

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CNET Downward Spiral Continues....
This news is a few weeks old and CNET reports it as recent? The downward death spiral continues. Things must be slow in India.
Posted by (156 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Old news, folks!
Typical CNET.
Posted by (156 comments )
Link Flag
No so slow...
The news for Manager layoffs have been reported in Indian newspapers long ago. See <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://infotech.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1633114.cms" target="_newWindow">http://infotech.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1633114.cms</a>.

Things do move fast in India.
Posted by TechieTimepass (1 comment )
Link Flag
Not Old News
Looking at a forwarded message, this was just sent to employees at Intel today. This announcement was about notifing 1000 managers by July 17th that their job is gone. The news from before was the generic we will be reducing, this is 1,000 people getting notice.
Posted by CogInTheMachine (1 comment )
Link Flag
back to the future....
wake up. this was reported weeks ago.
Posted by steblublu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Haifa's Intel branch saved it's face.
1000 american managers pushed the stupid GigaHerz number race with impotent processors wasting world's energy like there is no tommorow. After hitting reality wall of 4 Ghz, Intel changed tracks (3 years too late) to the Israeli technology that gave better performance at half the Gigahertz and quarter of power consumption.
Can someone explain why those 1000 managers did not do the switch 3 years earlier ? Wasn't obveus that's something is totally wrong with a gaming PC using WATER COOLOING ? KEILU DAH ?!!!

BTW, yesterday, Lebanise shot two rockets that fell few kilometers from Intel Haifa branch...
Posted by bar86 (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
1000 More Depositions For AMDs Lawsuit...
This could not have come at a better time for AMD's Legal Counsel. 1000 management layoffs means 1000 disgruntled and knowledgeable insiders to give AMD just the information they need to pursue their civil suit against Intel.
While a non-disclosure agreement is a standard part of employment at Intel a subpoena trumps that every time.
Jump on it AMD!
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
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