Massive layoffs begin at AOL

Matt Bowman · January 11, 2010 · Short URL:

Offices in Spain and Sweden shut down, German offices trimmed, bigger blow expected Wednesday.

 AOL will layoff 1,400 people this week as part of CEO Tim Armstrong’s restructuring efforts. In November, shortly after being spun out from Time Warner, AOL asked for up to 2,500 volunteers—a third of its global workforce--to accept a buyout and walk away. Only about 1,100 took the offer, forcing Armstrong to slash the ranks this week. The majority of notifications will go out Wednesday.

The move is a part of his new strategy to recast AOL and, so he promised in October at the Web 2.0 conference, transform the media world with a new secret formula to match up content publishers and advertisers

AOL began the winnowing in Europe, shutting down all offices in Spain and Sweden, laying off 140 from its German offices, and telling its other European employees to start make contingency plans:

“We began meeting with employees throughout Europe today.” The company told Business Insider. “For example meetings have already taken place in the UK, Germany and France, and we announced plans to shut down many of our offices in Europe, beginning with those in Spain and Sweden. In addition, we will be beginning the consultative process with the Workers’ Councils in relevant countries this week.”

The U.S. won’t be spared, but it looks like the company won't chop more than 33% from any one U.S. location, in order to avoid triggering the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) that places advanced-warning obligations on companies conducting mass layoffs.

Many of the resources will be redirected to hiring talent in India.

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