Harris Cuts Broadcast Workforce
June 18, 2004
Harris is in the process of eliminating 100 jobs in its U.S. and European divisions, a Harris spokeswoman confirmed through RW Online, tvtechnology.com's sister site. The move was made to help contain expenses.
The spokeswoman said there has been a staff reduction of approximately 5% of U.S. positions. Before the cuts, Harris employed 1,150 people in its broadcast division. Some of those were positions left vacant through attrition; others were part-time positions, according to Harris.
When asked about positions in other countries, Manager of Communications Martha Rapp said the company is still reorganizing its European operations. Rapp said the cuts are meant to "return Harris to a level of profitability. We've been able to maintain our market position, but the market is down."
Harris Chairman, President and CEO Howard Lance was blunt about the situation last week when he announced the Orkand acquisition, a $66 million cash deal for a company that provides technical services and information technology for U.S. government agencies.
Lance said the broadcast division's profits are small and the microwave division is losing money. "We need to have those two segments contributing in a material way to our earnings." Harris wants those two divisions to earn more "so the market attaches some value to those businesses and we'd see that reflected in a higher share price," said Lance.
Orkand revenue for the 12 months ended in March 2004 was $80 million.
Harris believes the Orkand purchase will allow it to save about $4 million a year in the broadcast division and $8 million in its microwave division over a one-year period.
Harris has reorganized itself into five business units: Television Broadcast Systems, Radio Broadcast Systems, Broadcast Systems Europe, Broadcast Automation Solutions and Networking & Government Systems. The reorganization is intended to streamline operations and cut operational costs, said Rapp.
Several managerial changes have taken place at the company recently: Jeremy Wensinger is the new head of the broadcast division, replacing Bruce Allan. Dale Mowry, formerly vice president of transmission for Harris Broadcast Communication, is now vice president of Television Broadcast Systems. Jim Woods continues as vice president of Broadcast Automation Solutions in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Jim Denny was promoted to vice president of Broadcast Networking and Government Solutions. Among the new unit's duties are the Intraplex and NetVX product lines. He is a past director of Intraplex Products and most recently was director of transmission programs, high-power radio and service.
David Stephenson joins Harris as vice president of Europe Broadcast Systems and will work in the U.K. He was vice president of strategic business development and marketing at Harris' RF Communications Division in Rochester, N.Y., and previously worked at Rohde & Schwarz.