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H-P executives put profits before jobs

March 29, 2002 | Page 2

IT'S ALL but certain that a March 20 vote by Hewlett-Packard (H-P) shareholders will result in a $22 billion merger with Compaq Computer.

It's all but certain that H-P CEO Carly Fiorina--the first woman to head a major high-tech company--and Compaq CEO Michael Capellas will rake in an estimated $115 million in executive compensation when the deal closes.

And it's all but certain that management at the united company will try to slash 15,000 jobs.

The merger between the two computer giants made news because William Hewlett--an heir of the founders of the printer and computer equipment maker--led a shareholder campaign against the merger.

Hewlett even criticized plans for layoffs at the new company. But his whole argument was based on "boosting shareholder value" by focusing on different ways to wring out profits.

Naturally, workers at neither company were asked for their thoughts on the merger. When it comes to corporate decisions that put tens of thousands of jobs at risk, executives and big shareholders think alike: profits come first.

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