Baan job axe fears

More than 1,000 IT specialists face the axe this summer when Invensys, the UK controls and automation group, completes its takeover of ailing Dutch software group Baan.

The 4,300 Baan workforce is likely to bare the brunt of job losses within a new Invensys Software and Systems division, which will employ around 12,000 worldwide. Invensys has bid Euro760m (£472m) for Baan and will take on ff96m (£60m) of debt.

Alan Yurko, chief executive of Invensys, accepted the possibility job insecurity could force more Baan staff to leave.

‘What person in the software industry is not looking for another job?,’ he said. ‘In the US they view a long-term employee as someone who comes back after his lunch-break.’

Previous Baan chief executive, Mary Coleman and predecessor Tom Tinsley, pushed through cost cutting measures to deal with a fall in orders, shedding staff to find $60m (£40m) savings.

Yurko said poor management was to blame for the Dutch company’s collapse.

‘Management did not manage, costs did not come down.’

He said the previous lay-off of 450 staff and closure of 12 offices was inadequate, because it was ‘achieved by attrition when much more aggressive action was needed’.

‘Costs didn’t go down because Baan actually went out and replaced those people and spent more to do it.’

Invensys claimed in January, Baan, after a corporate overhaul, including the resignation of Coleman, realised it could no longer survive as an independent entity and reverse six consecutive quarter net losses.

Invensys has to secure a 95% backing from Baan shareholders and is believed to have an 18% stake in the company.

Baan shareholders hold an egm today and need to respond by July 13. Yurko dismissed as ‘background noise’ reports this month that a group of 22 Dutch shareholders with a 19.6% share in Baan would launch a rival rescue bid.

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