HP gets the axe out again

Hewlett Packard is quietly making fresh cuts to its Australian workforce on top of the worldwide reduction of 6,000 jobs announced last August.

Latest to feel the pinch is HP's Queensland operation which this week lost 10 per cent of its headcount. Staff numbers dropped to 33 from 37, and the departures included state branch manager and principal consultant Doug Stevenson.

Although HP won't officially reveal figures, it is believed the August cuts affected about six per cent of HP's 1,500 to 2,000 staff across virtually all locations and business units.

A company spokesman said the Queensland reduction was "the last we know of at this time."

However other HP sources said staff have been told the company can't guarantee the process is at an end.

The first cut in August was "a minimalist approach" which has had to be augmented by later rounds because of the business confidence shocks administered by the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to one HP executive.

The Queensland downsizing effectively eliminates HP's consulting division there. That work will now be handled from Sydney, according to a company spokesman.

The new Queensland branch manager is Conor MacManus.

Outgoing manager Doug Stevenson is a seasoned IT executive who spent 17 years with KPMG before becoming head of HP's Queensland operation eight years ago.

A former Queensland convenor of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and a board member of Enabling Queensland, a government-backed task force on IT training, Stevenson said he will be staying in the industry.

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