Cap Gemini Ernst & Young to cut more staff

IT consulting and software company Cap Gemini Ernst & Young LLP (CGEY) is set to cut close to 2,000 more jobs, on top of the 3,500 layoffs already announced this year, but the quality of customer service should not be affected, a spokeswoman said Monday.

"The clients are the most important thing for us, to make sure that they're looked after and that they don't suffer from this. It wouldn't be logical or make sense for us to take out employees that are serving customers. Unfortunately we have too many people for the clients that we have," she said.

Analysts from Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. predicted last week that CGEY would have to slash another 2,000 jobs, out of its worldwide workforce of 60,000"It is less than 2,000 -- not a great deal less, but it is less," the CGEY spokeswoman said.

She would not say in which countries or area specialties the next layoffs are likely to fall, though job cuts announced earlier this year primarily affected the U.S., the U.K., and the Nordic countries, and above all CGEY's telecommunication operations.

The company is currently seeking 750 volunteers among its employees in the U.K. and Ireland for a "voluntary redundancy" or early retirement plan, she added.

"If at the beginning of January we have not had enough volunteers, we will have to look at compulsory redundancy," she said.

The company faced criticism last week when press reports revealed that Maurice Abell, chief executive officer of CGEY's U.K. operations, had announced the job cuts there in a group voicemail to employees. But the company defended the move as the quickest way to reach all of its staff members.

CGEY released financial results for the third quarter on Nov. 14 showing revenue of 1.97 billion euros (US$1.79 billion as of Sept. 30, the last day of the quarter), a drop of 1.8 percent from the 2.01 billion euros generated in the third quarter of 2000.

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