Lenovo to lay off 2,500 staff, cut management pay

Amid growing fears that many countries face a long and painful economic recession, Lenovo plans to lay off 2,500 workers, cut the salaries of its executives and restructure its Asian operations in an attempt to weather the downturn, the company said Thursday.

Lenovo will take a US$150 million restructuring charge, the majority of which will be taken during the current quarter, as a result of these changes. Looking ahead, the company hopes to save US$300 million during its upcoming 2009/2010 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2010.

The layoffs, described as part of a "resource redeployment plan," represent 11 percent of Lenovo's global workforce, and the employees will be let go during the first quarter of 2009, the company said. It did not say where the layoffs will take place or whether they would be spread evenly across all of the regions where the company operates.

Lenovo will also cut the pay of managers by 30 percent to 50 percent, including bonuses, and wants to rein in spending on expenses and other functions, such as human resources, finance and marketing, it said.

The company also plans to combine its operations in Asia-Pacific and Russia under the lead of Chen Shaopeng, who currently heads Lenovo's China operations. The new region headed by Chen, to be called Asia-Pacific and Russia, bucks a recent trend of companies elevating China's role as a single market of global importance. But Lenovo said forming the new region will lower operating expenses by combining support and other functions.

As a result of these changes, the current head of Lenovo's Asia-Pacific operations, Senior Vice President David Miller, will leave the company after the restructuring is complete.

Scott DiValerio, senior vice president and president of Lenovo's Americas Group, is also leaving the company. The Americas Group will be led by Rory Read, Lenovo's senior vice president of operations, the company said.

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