UK purchasing jobs to go in Cable & Wireless cull

16 March 2006
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16 March 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor

Procurement at Cable & Wireless is facing a massive upheaval as the firm announced thousands of job losses. In addition, purchasing chief Ninian Wilson has left the company.

Reporting to the City, the telecoms firm said it intends to cut its workforce by half, with up to 3,000 job losses in the next five years. It aims to cut its headcount by 350 before the end of this month.

Although no breakdown is available of precisely where the jobs cuts will come, a spokeswoman told SM all functions will be affected, including procurement. More details are expected by the end of April.

The changes have been brought about in part by C&W's takeover of Energis last year. Last month, C&W announced plans to split up its UK and international businesses, and procurement, which was centralised in 2003, is being divided up to mirror that change.

The spokeswoman said: "We recognise that the UK has issues to sort out but the international business is doing very well. They are two quite distinct businesses and they need different teams to support them."

One potential risk of this is that global vendors become suppliers to both businesses and end up managing them, instead of the other way around.

C&W plans to cut back from 30,000 customers to about 3,000 large businesses and public institutions. It hopes that concentrating on fewer, larger customers will help to improve standards and reduce costs.

With Wilson gone, it is understood that Stephen Day, formerly vice-president of supply chain, is heading procurement for the international business, and Kendall Smith, previously deputy senior vice-president, purchasing and supply chain, is the lead for the UK.

Wilson, who joined C&W in 2000 and became chief procurement officer in July, told SM: "I'm pleased with the time I had at Cable & Wireless but felt that it was the right time to move on."

He will become director of procurement at Royal Mail Group, which includes the Post Office, Parcelforce and Royal Mail, from the end of April.


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