Andersen to Lay Off 7,000 Employees

Big Five firm Andersen announced plans yesterday to slash its U.S. workforce by 25 percent. The firm will cut approximately 7,000 workers over the coming months, according to a statement that appeared on the Andersen Web site.

Andersen will provide job search assistance to all affected individuals, and those who are losing their jobs will be allowed to stay on the firm's payroll for a period of time determined by their position and length of service. In addition, affected individuals will have access to health insurance, computers, and telephones for at least as long as they remain on the payroll.

The firm's headquarters in Chicago is expected to suffer severe cuts in personnel. Chicago office personnel received an e-mail message on Monday telling them to check their voice mail later that night to find out if they should report to work on Tuesday.

"Of all the issues we have confronted recently, none compare to actions we are now forced to take with our employees," said Larry Gorrell, managing partner of Andersen U.S. "This decision is even more painful in light of the loyalty, commitment, and hard work that our employees have demonstrated during this difficult time."

Andersen's statement indicates that audit and administrative employees will be hardest hit by the layoffs. Mr. Gorrell indicated that other, unspecified cost-reduction measures will also be implemented.

Meanwhile, the insurance companies that wanted a court to order a temporary injunction against Andersen to prevent the firm from selling assets were told they would have to wait until April 17 for a court decision on the matter.

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