Comdisco, Exodus report layoffs

Comdisco Inc. and Exodus Communications Inc. both announced layoffs today after reporting losses in the past quarter.

The companies will try to recoup, in part, by eliminating hundreds of workers. At Comdisco, the cuts will involve 250 people, or almost 10 percent of its workforce of 2,600 people in North America. Exodus will trim 15 percent, or 675 workers, from its workforce of 4,500 employees worldwide.

Comdisco, a disaster-recovery and IT-leasing company in Rosemont, Ill., reported an US$8 million loss, or 5 cents per common share, which followed the closing of two businesses and the naming of a new president and CEO on March 1. Last fall, several dot-coms in which Comdisco had invested went out of business.

Exodus, an Internet-hosting provider in Santa Clara, Calif., also saw a shake-up in its senior management before the cuts. Last week, the company said that former Chief Financial Officer Dick Stoltz would resume the responsibilities of CFO and executive vice president of finance on a temporary basis. Stoltz will take over the duties of R. Marshall Case, who is leaving the company for personal reasons.

Exodus reported a net loss last quarter of $649.6 million or $1.21 per share, which compares with a net loss of $68 million or 19 cents per share in the first quarter of last year.

The Internet hosting provider was also responsible this week for outages of some services of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo Inc., including Yahoo Messenger. The outages were blamed on an undetermined equipment failure at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. after earlier reports blamed rolling blackouts and an underground explosion.