Axe falls in CWC review

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The Independent Online
THE BLOOD-LETTING has begun at Cable & Wireless Communications, the cable and telephone operator, ahead of a wide-ranging restructuring which the company will announce today.

CWC parted company with Philip Langsdale, its IT director, on Tuesday following a review by the accountants Coopers & Lybrand. Ted Hatch, head of networks, is likely to be moved to another part of the group. The two were part of CWC's 12-strong senior management team. Neither had a seat on the company's board. It is not clear whether Mr Langsdale will be replaced.

As part of the "optimum resourcing review" initiated by Graham Wallace, CWC's chief executive, Coopers is understood to have asked every CWC manager to write a detailed job description. Where two descriptions are similar one of the jobs is likely to be phased out.

CWC will today argue the review will increase efficiency among the backroom functions, freeing up more resources which can be devoted to improving customer service. CWC has concluded it must concentrate on fast-growing segments of the market such as small and medium-sized businesses.

Up to 2,000 of the company's 12,000 posts may be cut, although large numbers of staff will be offered jobs elsewhere in the organisation to reduce the redundancy bill.

CWC was created last year through a four-way merger of telephone group Mercury and cable operators Nynex CableComms, Bell Cablemedia and Videotron. Since the deal, executives have struggled to merge the four operations into a single entity and stamp out duplication of jobs.

Last year 400 of the 1,000 managers inherited at the time of the merger were axed. But the Coopers review is understood to have identified further scope for efficiency.