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March 4, 1987

RADICAL RESTRUCTURING AND SLIMMING OPERATION AT THORN EMI SOFTWARE

By CBR Staff Writer

At over UKP20m a year, and with 5,000 users of its FCS line of decision support applications and 1,000 for its Shadow teleprocessing monitor and other system products, Thorn EMI Computer Software is a major player in the systems and applications software arena. Nevertheless it clearly ain’t making any money at it, and new managing director Chris Wood, who is also managing director of the immediate parent, Thorn EMI Information Services, is instituting a top-to-bottom shake-up in an effort to make the division perform. Wood says that the top priority is to continue investment in the FCS range, but that more attention will now also be paid to the systems products. The US operations in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, are by all accounts a disaster area, and the company has decided to consolidate the US marketing and development activities at the UK base, laying off 20 of its US staff to leave it with a simple sales force over there. The company also has a slimmed-down board reporting to Wood, comprising UK and international operations director Clive Smith, US president Jim Dorsey, finance director Nand Gouhari, and product marketing and development director Roy Sutcliffe. As well as the cuts in the US, the workforce has been trimmed in the UK and on the continent, and some development staff have been transferred to the consultancy business. The company now has 500 staff worldwide operating out of 36 offices in 11 countries in Europe and North America, with agents in over 20 other countries around the world. The last big shake-up at the company was the shedding of the microcomputer products and home computer games businesses. Even after the cuts, the company is doing only about UKP40,000 a year per employee, which implies that the radical shake-up needs to be followed by a surge in sales.

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