The staff haemorrhaging continued at Tech Pacific last week with the company axing its human resources division and retrenching two senior managers. The latest staff cuts leave the high-profile distributor with just on half of the some 700 staff it had in March last year.
Tech Pacific's managing director, Kerry Baillie, played down the staff reduction as "not a huge deal". ARN understands that as many as 11 people were made redundant at the end of February, including former sales director Mark Sookias and HR director Bernard Desmidt.
Baillie said he didn't really want to comment on the latest staff changes but confirmed that "two of our managers have left".
Baillie said staff numbers had been "reduced by half" since peaking early in 2001. He denied the suggestion that revenues had also been halved over the same period. "We are running a much more efficient operation these days," he said.
"My costs have come down by 2 per cent. It has been said that our current prices and promotions are unsustainable but the truth of the matter is that they are sustainable.
"If people think we have a high cost structure, they are wrong. We have met our profit targets and we will continue to cut costs further this year."
Tech Pacific's headcount peaked at "more than 700" in March 2001 and was down to 470 by November last year, according to ARN's special reports on distribution, published every four months.
In an e-mail sent to all staff on February 11, a copy of which has been obtained by ARN, Baillie wrote: "I have decided to disband the HR department and return their function to the company managers. This will become effective sometime next month. This is in line with each manager being responsible for the performance and welfare of their own staff."
Baillie confirmed this week that the changes became effective on March 1 but said that HR had not been abandoned altogether. "I still have an HR department, I just have a smaller one. We don't have a huge HR department any more as we don't need it. We used to have eight people in HR, now we have three."