StarHub to cut 300 jobs as part of restructuring exercise

As part of a strategic transformation plan, StarHub will also focus on and invest in areas such as enterprise-oriented information and communications technology solutions.
As part of a strategic transformation plan, StarHub will also focus on and invest in areas such as enterprise-oriented information and communications technology solutions.PHOTO: ST FILE

StarHub will start laying off 300 full-time employees by the end of the month, as the company seeks to restructure amid "intense local competition".

The telco yesterday announced an operational efficiency programme that aims to improve productivity and speed in decision-making as well as lower operating expenditure "across the board".

However, the move will result in job cuts, primarily in non-customer-facing functions, it said. Among the staff affected by the cuts is chief strategic partnership officer Jeannie Ong.

Other roles will also be axed due to ongoing attrition and tighter management of contractor roles.

StarHub said that the cuts to headcount - more than a 10th of its 2,500 full-time staff - will come with a one-off restructuring cost of some $25 million.

But it added that this will not have any impact on the company's earnings guidance for FY2018.

Overall, the transformation drive is expected to realise $210 million in savings from 2019 to 2021, said StarHub.

Other areas where it could trim the fat include procurement activities, leasing costs, network and systems repair and maintenance, and sales and distribution.

OPERATING MODEL

Our revised operating structure will be best placed to meet our strategic intent, enhance customer experience, increase accountability and effectiveness, and improve competitiveness and agility.

STARHUB CHIEF EXECUTIVE PETER KALIAROPOULOS

 

StarHub chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulos noted that the layoffs are not due to individual work performance, but strategic realignment.

He cited a laundry list of challenges facing the company - "intense competitive ferocity right across the market, new entrants, lower voice revenues, thinning margins for fixed broadband services, high content costs for pay-television operations and high market penetration for mobile and fixed services".

He said that StarHub must transform its operating model as "otherwise we will face greater risks in the future".

"Our revised operating structure will be best placed to meet our strategic intent, enhance customer experience, increase accountability and effectiveness, and improve competitiveness and agility," added Mr Kaliaropoulos, who took on his role on July 9.

StarHub, which is Singapore's second-largest listed telco after Singtel, will focus on and invest in areas such as new businesses, digital customer service initiatives, enterprise-oriented information and communications technology solutions, and wireless and fibre services.

This includes hiring more employees in fields such as cyber security, home and enterprise solutions, and customer care, the company said.

Ms Ong, a 17-year veteran at StarHub, is now on gardening leave and will end her service on Dec 31 this year, the company said in a separate statement to The Business Times.

Her job was made redundant after responsibilities were combined with other functions to create a new senior role of chief corporate officer, said Mr Kaliaropoulos.

Ms Veronica Lai, formerly the group general counsel and company secretary, was appointed chief corporate officer on Oct 1.

The telco said that it will work with affiliated companies, as well as the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees' Union (SISEU), the National Trades Union Congress' Employment and Employability Institute, and government agencies, to help affected staff find suitable new jobs.

It will also offer counselling services such as coaching and skills upgrading.

Ms Sylvia Choo, executive secretary of the SISEU, said in a separate statement that the union was consulted for the exercise and "will work closely with management to ensure fair treatment and compensation package for the affected employees".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2018, with the headline 'StarHub to cut 300 jobs as part of restructuring exercise'. Print Edition | Subscribe