GE Capital Layoffs On Hold For New Severance Policy

Yesterday peHUB reported that GE Antares would delay its rumored layoffs until the New Year. Today, we found out why. Thanks to a tip from my Buyouts colleague Ari Nathanson, it appears the mid-market lender and its parent company, GE Capital, plans to lay off members of its staff in one fell swoop in early January (we hear Jan. 8, to be exact).

The initial layoff plan for GE Antares was to occur in two waves, with one taking place last Tuesday and one in January, multiple sources said. However, parent company GE is in the midst of changing its corporate severance policy to provide smaller packages for 2009 layoffs. The conglomerate’s legal team told GE Capital to make all the cuts at once, to avoid discrepancies between the severance packages in the two waves of layoffs.

Because GE Antares hasn’t finalized its layoff list, the firm will have to lay off both groups in January, likely with the new, lower severance package, one source said.

This explains GE Antares’ spokesperson’s comments to me yesterday. In response to incessant rumors that GE Antares had plans to lay off 20% of its staff last week, the spokesperson said “I’m not sure what was true a week ago but it’s not true today,”assuring me that no layoffs would take place in the month of December and possibly implying that they’d happen in January.

For employees of GE Antares, this means your fate hasn’t been decided yet, which is good news (I’m looking for a positive here). But if you return from Christmas with a pink slip, your severance package will be worse than what your colleagues who may have been laid off this year received.

For its part, GE Capital, GE Antares’ parent company, is expected to serve up many layoffs next year as it seeks to cut the business unit from 50% of the General Electric’s revenue to 30%.

GE didn’t respond to calls for comment.


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