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    Marconi Struggling

    Financial complications for the UK telecommunications company could spell trouble for U.S. divisions.

    Marconi, Britain's ailing telecommunications company and parent company of gasoline pump manufacturer Marconi Commerce Systems, said yesterday that both its chairman and chief executive had resigned and that it would eliminate 2,000 more jobs.

    Chairman Roger Hurn and chief executive George Simpson have both stepped down, Marconi said. Their departure came just two months after the resignation of deputy chief executive John Mayo, who had been tapped to take over from Simpson as chief executive.

    Mike Parton, who heads Marconi's Networks division, has been named the new chief executive, while Derek Bonham, a senior non-executive director, will serve as interim chairman until a new chairman is appointed, the company said in a statement.

    "Our operational review is a decisive response to the dramatic shift in the fortunes of the global telecoms industry," Parton said. "I do believe there is a place in this market for Marconi and that we will be successful."

    The cuts come two months after Marconi said it would terminate 8,000 positions, or one-quarter of its work force, and the company's valuation plunged from a peak of $50 billion a year ago to about $2 billion, according to The New York Times.

    All of this has prompted analysts to speculate that Marconi could soon look to shed many of its assets. Sources at Marconi Commerce Systems in Greensboro, N.C., have heard rumors that the gasoline dispenser division will be put on the market. The unit represents one of only three remaining major manufacturers of the slumping pump industry. The others are Tokheim Corp, which is working its way out of bankruptcy, and Dresser Wayne, which was sold earlier this year.

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