Quick follow-up on Sprint…with a parallel story about The Kansas City Star.
It turns out, according to a story posted the kansascity.com website today that Sprint’s workforce reduction this fall will actually come in at about 3,700 people, not the 2,700 the company indicated earlier.
Two days ago, on Monday, Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s new c.e.o., said that Sprint would reduce its workforce by an additional 2,000 people, over and above 687 people whom it downsized in October. Today, however, the company acknowledged that the 687-figure had actually mushroomed to about 1,700, putting the October-to-end-of-the-year cuts at about 3,700.
KC Star business reporter Mark Davis paraphrased Sprint spokesman Doug Duvall as saying that Sprint was offering voluntary buyouts to reach at least part of the 2,000 jobs left to be cut. If that didn’t get the job done, so to speak, layoffs would follow.
Davis also reported that employment in the Kansas City area will end this week at about 6,800, where it had been 7,500 earlier this year.
To put all this in perspective, The Star ran a chart on Monday, showing that in January 2007 — less than eigh0t years ago — Sprint had about 65,000 employees. In mid-September, the number was down to 33,000. Take away the new 3,700 and the company will have slightly less than 30,000 employees by the end of this year.
Of course, Sprint isn’t the only major Kansas City company taking the gas as a result of circumstances in and out of its control.
About the same time that Sprint had 65,000 employees, The Star had more than 2,000 employees. That’s now down to well under 1,000.
I’m betting now that The Star will be around, as a company called The Kansas City Star, longer than Sprint Corp. I think the Japanese company SoftBank, which owns 80 percent of Sprint, will probably offload at some point.
Among other tangents of a Sprint unraveling, I think we can look for the Sprint Center to get a name change within the next few years.
And what’s the deal with this fellow Claure, a reputed Miami billionaire who reportedly has moved, or is moving, his family to the Kansas City area as part of his effort to revive Sprint?
Claure’s main push since taking over three months ago has been to oversee a goal (or, more likely, implement a SoftBank demand) that Sprint reduce its annual budget by $1.5 billion.
It looks to me like Inspector Claure is a glorified hatchet man. I expect him and his family to be back on South Beach within a year.
There’s another KC Star corollary here…Not long after Capital Cities Inc. bought the employee-owned paper in 1977, Jim Hale, the man whom Cap Cities sent in as publisher, hired a guy named Gerald Garcia as executive editor. Like Hale, Garcia hailed from Texas, as I recall. Garcia walked around the newsroom with a perverse, snarling, grin pasted on one side of his face.
One day, Garcia summoned 20 or more highly paid employees in a conference room — most of them had made a lot of money in the $2-for-$1 stock sale — and told them they were finished. Just like that…pack up, it’s time to go.
Not long after that, Garcia left the paper and went off to points unknown. The executioner’s job was finished, too.