Former HR VP Says IBM Wanted to Look 'Cool' to Millennials, Fired 100,000 Workers

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Alan Wild, IBM’s former vice president of human resources, said in a court testimony that IBM has fired over 100,000 employees in recent years to try to look “cool” and “trendy,” like industry peers Google and Amazon. 

As reported by Bloomberg, Wild testified that IBM set out to replace its older employees with younger ones over the span of several years to make itself more appealing to the younger workforce. Texas-based Jonathan Langley, 61, accused IBM of firing him after working 24 years for the company. Langley has sued IBM, but the company has recently filed a motion to dismiss this case.

IBM’s firing of older employees has resulted in multiple discrimination lawsuits against the company, including a class-action case in Manhattan and individual civil suits filed in California, Pennsylvania and Texas last year. 

IBM made the following statement in response to reports about these lawsuits: 

“We have reinvented IBM in the past five years to target higher value opportunities for our clients. The company hires 50,000 employees each year.”

It’s not just its image that the company may be trying to improve. IBM has been struggling with declining revenues over the past seven years. As a consequence, the company has let go of some of its highest paid employees in Northern America and other places. IBM ended up with 350,600 employees at the end of 2018, a reduction of 19% compared to 2013.

Last month, IBM’s New York headquarters laid off another 2,000 employees. At the time, the company made the following statement:

“We are continuing to re-position our team to align with our focus on the high value segments of the IT market – while aggressively hiring in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM.”

In 2015, an IBM spokesperson denied a Forbes report that said that the company was planning to lay off over 100,000 workers in the coming years. The company dismissed the claims as in an interview with USA Today as “ridiculous” and “baseless.”

27 comments
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  • Mandark
    ugh... IBM, what a lug. they probably all deserved the firing too. I've worked with that fat, bloated terrible company.(and they screwed us big-time in business deals). I am not at all impressed with ANYTHING they do. it's meh at best.

    this is hilarious! Godspeed them on the way to Hell. tell them not to let the doors hit them in the arse on the way out.

    they are nasty predators with their vendors in all of my experience, we will never deal with them again. ever.

    May they rot in Hell.
  • bloodroses
    Sue them into the ground. This ageism crap is absolute BS and I hope every tech company gets sued to death for it. Too bad it'll be too late for those of us already severely affected by it (divorced, relocated, etc).
  • bigdragon
    Firing older employees is not the way you go about looking cool to Millennials. We're way more concerned about the gap between normal employee compensation and executive compensation, time off and work/life balance, benefits packages, and flexible schedules.