JPMorgan Tech Conference: Siebel Says Cuts Preserved Company's Profit Culture
Tom Siebel had just six weeks left to get his job done when he started to get scared. But don't feel too bad for the guy. He managed to get the job done and take home a fat paycheck to boot.
"I wasn't concerned about the shareholders or the stock," Siebel told a luncheon crowd at the JPMorgan H&Q Technology Conference, likely to his listeners' chagrin. "But if we didn't make our numbers, the culture of the company would never be the same. Never again would we be seen as the company that digs in and does what it takes to get the job done."
Using that as his justification, Siebel detailed how he took out the ax at his company, and in doing so demonstrated the Draconian focus on profits that has made him a hero on Wall Street, and given him a reputation among his Silicon Valley employees as a martinet."I had a bigger number than you could even imagine for the first quarter," said Siebel, who revealed that initial plans for 2001 called for the company to double its headcount to 15,000 employees. Instead, the company announced on April 18 that it had cut 10% of its workforce. Siebel said it was through the use of his company's own software that it detected, and adjusted to, economic changes so quickly. "Most companies don't know they're going to miss the quarter until 11:10 on the 31st," Siebel said. "We find out we're going to miss with six weeks to go." If that's true, though, things must have changed very quickly indeed. Because with exactly six weeks and three days left in his quarter, Siebel was making outrageously bullish claims about his company's business at another investment conference. In fact, he said things were
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