MarchFirst slashes 1,000 jobs

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The slowdown in Internet consulting finally hit Chicago-based MarchFirst, which announced it is cutting 1,000 jobs, or about 10% of its worldwide work force, to reduce costs. In a statement, President-Chief Operating Officer Thomas Metz said the cuts will begin immediately and will save about $100 million a year. The company said it had "gotten a little ahead of itself" in the hiring cycle, and now is reducing costs to bring the company in line with marketplace trends. MarchFirst has been hit by cutbacks in Internet consulting and advertising as some of its dot-com clients have folded and others are scaling back digital marketing efforts. A company spokeswoman, noting that "it was a difficult decision to make," said the layoffs would primary affect "underutilized consultants who specialize in outdated technologies or whose skills are no longer in demand." The company would not specify from which offices, regions or job-titles the cuts will come; the MarchFirst spokeswoman did say the cuts would affect all parts of the company. Last month, MarchFirst reported a third-quarter loss of $436.7 million, or $2.86 a share, compared with net income of $8.98 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier. The company said it was hurt by slowing demand for consulting services and the weakness of the euro against the dollar. The company did not say whether it would take a fourth-quarter charge related to the cuts. MarchFirst's stock has sunk 95%, after predecessor company U.S. Web/CKS' stock soared above $81 in December, just before Chicago-based Whittman-Hart announced its merger with San Francisco-based U.S.Web/CKS, which created MarchFirst.

Copyright November 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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