Will This New “Long-Term View” Approach Also Include Layoffs?
Whatever does not kill us will make us stronger. That’s the view of IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, who says the recession will not do to Big Blue what it is doing to so many others. In an exuberant letter to shareholders today, Palmisano wrote that IBM (IBM) will not cower before the current economic turmoil. “Many companies are reacting to the current global downturn by drastically curtailing spending and investment, even in areas that are important to their future,” he said. “We are taking a different approach. Of course, we must continue to improve our competitiveness. But while we maintain discipline and prudence in the near term, we also maintain the discipline to plan for the future. We’re not looking back, we’re looking ahead. We’re continuing to invest in R&D, in strategic acquisitions, in growth initiatives–and most importantly, during these difficult times, in our people. In other words, we will not simply ride out the storm. Rather, we will take a long-term view, and go on offense.”
Ignoring for a moment the irony of a company that’s laid off 4,600 employees in the past few months professing to invest in its people, Palmisano’s remarks are quite interesting. Certainly, they’re anomalous to much of what we’ve been hearing lately. No gloom and doom from ol’ Sam, only contrarian bluster. Perhaps just enough to justify that 14 percent pay increase he accepted in 2008….