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HP issues British job cuts warning


The UK HQ of Hewlett Packard in Bracknell, Berkshire

The UK HQ of Hewlett Packard in Bracknell, Berkshire

The UK HQ of Hewlett Packard in Bracknell, Berkshire

Hewlett Packard has warned of cuts in its UK operation in a global purge that will see it axe 27,000 workers.

The US technology company plans to make the cuts, which amount to 8% of its global workforce of almost 350,000 people, as it struggles for sales in a marketplace increasingly dominated by smartphones and tablet computers.

HP, which has its headquarters in Palo Alto, near San Francisco, California, said the job cuts, along with other measures, should save it £2.2 billion which it would invest in growth areas like "cloud" storage technology.

A spokeswoman said: "We do expect the workforce reduction to impact just about every business and region."

One of those leaving is Dr Mike Lynch, chief executive of HP's Autonomy division, formerly a UK-based stand-alone company he founded in 1996 and sold to HP last year for £7.1 billion.

Cambridge University graduate Dr Lynch, who made £500 million from the sale, is being replaced by Bill Veghte, HP's chief strategy officer "to help improve Autonomy's performance".

Dr Lynch will leave after what the company called a "transition period".

HP says it hopes to reduce the number of redundancies by offering an early retirement programme. Workforce reduction plans will vary by country, based on local legal requirements and consultation with works councils and employee representatives.

The firm's chief executive Meg Whitman, also a former CEO of eBay, said the cuts were needed to ensure HP's long-term health.

"While some of these actions are difficult because they involve the loss of jobs, they are necessary to improve execution and to fund the long term health of the company," she said. "We are setting HP on a path to extend our global leadership and deliver the greatest value to customers and shareholders."