February 15, 2002
Boston Firm Lays Off 52 in HR
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Boston's State Street Corp. has laid off 52 employees as part of a reorganization of its human resources group, the Boston Globe reports.
While job cuts at the financial services giant are rare, according to the Globe, executives did not rule out future changes in other parts of the company. They cited ongoing pressures to trim expenses.
The job cuts, announced Tuesday, represent 15 percent of State Street's total human resources group. The company employs 19,800 people around the world in investment management and servicing mutual funds and pension funds, with 13,000 working in Massachusetts. Most of the laid off HR people are in the Boston area.
The Globe notes that the layoffs come four months after Louis de Ocejo joined the company as head of global human resources, succeeding Sue Comeau, who retired after nearly 30 years. De Ocejo previously ran human resources for the Pillsbury Co. in Minneapolis.
He said the reorganization was aimed at updating personnel management at a company that has changed dramatically over the past decade.
"We frankly needed to bring in some new skills and perspectives," de Ocejo told the Globe. "State Street is a large and successful organization, and now a worldwide company. Functions such as mine need to align ourselves with the business strategies of the company."
The news surprised analysts and employees, according to the Globe, because State Street has seldom, if ever, had layoffs. The recession and the decline in global markets, on top of a maturing business, appear to be taking a toll on the company, stock analysts told the newspaper.
De Ocejo said some of his priorities included improving diversity at State Street. "I'm determined to make sure we ... build it into the fabric of everything we do," he said. He also said he wants to enhance the company's procedures in hiring, training, relocating executives, and assessing pay scales.
State Street shares closed at $51.99 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesdsay, the day after the layoff announcement, up 11 cents.