Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Landel Hobbs said Wednesday the second-biggest U.S. cable operator will undergo a major restructuring resulting in the loss of 1,250 jobs across the country.
Discussing fourth-quarter results on a call with analysts, Hobbs said that last year a restructuring of its field operations, which involved reducing its operations from 20 divisions to six regions, resulted in the elimination of roughly 500 positions across the country.
Now it is time for the company to make "the next step," Hobbs said.
That, the COO said on the call, will involve appointing three executives in each region responsible for residential services, commercial services and physical plant in each division respectively.
That restructuring will also result, he said, in the elimination of 1,250 employees and save the company about $90 million.
TWC executive vice president and chief communications officer Ellen East said employees affected by the layoffs were notified today. She added that the process could take about a week and involves less than 3% of TWC's total workforce.
Earlier in the conference call, TWC CEO Glenn Britt hinted that even more layoffs could come.
Britt said that TWC was keeping a close eye on costs, including staffing levels that were more in line with its declining subscriber rolls.
"Fewer consumers are moving and RGU growth is slower than it was before the economy turned," Britt said. "That means we need fewer frontline personnel. At the moment we believe we can match our costs to activity levels through attrition. But we will continue to monitor that situation closely."
Operationally, TWC lost about 119,000 basic subscribers in the fourth quarter, more than double the 50,000 basic customers it lost during the same period in 2007. Basic customer losses for the full year were 104,000, an improvement over the 144,000 basic customers lost in 2007. Revenue and cash flow growth for the quarter was 8%, in line with analyst expectations.
TWC isn't the only cable company to announce layoffs, but at 1,250 jobs, it appears to be the biggest in the cable space for now. AT&T still takes the top spot among telecom companies, announcing in December it would shed 12,000 positions. Also in December, Viacom said it would eliminate 850 jobs; and NBC Universal said it would shed 500 positions.
In October Comcast announced that it would eliminate about 300 jobs, mostly in its East division and Cox Communications said it would jettison about 460 positions in November. And last year, TWC parent Time Warner Inc. said it would lay off about 1,000 workers, mostly in its film and publishing units.