According to two sources close to the matter, Lenovo just laid off hundreds of employees at Motorola, potentially more than 50% of the remaining workforce at the mobile device maker. One source actually pegged the number at 700+ out of 1200 remaining who will be told that they no longer have a job within the next day.
At least one now-former employee took to Facebook to confirm the news (we’ve decided not to include a link to preserve his privacy), saying that he has been with the company for over 20 years and his last day will be this Friday. He mentioned that Lenovo was moving more operations to China, which one of our sources said has been the increasing pattern over the past two years. That source also thinks (according to the internal rumor mill) they may just relocate some remaining Chicago-based staff to North Carolina where Lenovo US is based. EDIT: Motorola denies this rumor and says they plan to keep their HQ in Chicago.
This latest wave of cuts follows two that immediately come to mind, one that included 200 employees a year ago and another that included 500 months before it. As you probably realized, there aren’t many folks left at the smartphone manufacturer that has failed to return to former glory. Even executives that once led the company and became familiar faces around media circles are long gone, including former president Rick Osterloh who is back at Google and Jim Wicks, the man who championed the Moto 360.
We have reached out to Motorola for comment and will update this post should we hear back.
UPDATE: Motorola has reached out to confirm this latest round of layoffs. The statement puts the total number of affected employees at less than 2% of the 55,000 that Lenovo employees globally (<1,100 or so then). The cuts are “part of the ongoing strategic integration between Lenovo and its Motorola smartphone business as the company further aligns its organization and streamlines its product portfolio to best compete in the global smartphone market.” Motorola also makes note that they are “absolutely committed to Chicago” and will remain there.
The full statement can be seen below.
Lenovo today announced a resource action impacting less than two percent of its approximately 55,000 employees globally. The majority of the positions being eliminated are part of the ongoing strategic integration between Lenovo and its Motorola smartphone business as the company further aligns its organization and streamlines its product portfolio to best compete in the global smartphone market.
The company is also making adjustments in other areas of the business as part of a continued effort to manage costs, drive efficiency and support ongoing improvement in overall financial performance. While these actions are never easy, they are a necessary part of our continued efforts to ensure long-term, profitable growth across all of our businesses.
Lenovo is absolutely committed to Chicago and we plan to maintain our Motorola Mobility headquarters there. Chicago has a well-deserved reputation for technical excellence and as the hub of our global R&D for our smartphone business we expect to take advantage of local talent to continue developing Moto products there.