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This article was prepared for the January 16, 2002 edition of U.S.
1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
On Wednesday, January 9, Merrill Lynch announced it
had laid off 9,000 employees, 16 percent of its staff, and that it
was taking a $2.2 billion charge. The country’s number one brokerage
house is leading its peers in slashing jobs. Its staffing, as high
as 72,000 not too long ago, is down to 57,000, and more cuts are
In October the company offered severance packages to all of its
and the lay-offs began in November.
The Princeton area lost some jobs but also gained some. A Denver
center will close by midyear and 650 customer service jobs, about
two-thirds of those at the Denver Meridian Complex, will move to the
Merrill Lynch will hire locally to fill the positions of Denver
who choose not to move. Most of these jobs will involve customer
— answering calls from current and prospective clients. Some will
require a license to give financial advice.
As Merrill consolidates, the Hopewell campus is rapidly adding people
and there are now 5,000 people there. Another 3,000 people are spread
among the Scudders Mill headquarters campus, Morgan Lane, College
Road, and Roszel Road, swelling the total in Central Jersey to 8,000,
up from 6,500 last year.
Other slashes in the budget amounting to $1 billion involve closing
and subletting excess office space ($500 million), writing down
assets ($300 million) and other costs totaling $200 million.
`We haven’t dealt with anthrax
Nobody has," says Bill Mulvey, spokesman for the IT Group
The corporation, with headquarters in Pittsburgh and a 175-person
office in the Horizon Business Center, does, however, have substantial
experience in hazardous waste clean-up. When the deadly toxin was
sent through the mail last fall, the IT Group got the call to clean
it up in contaminated post offices and in the Hart Senate Office
Now the IT Group itself is in dire need of remediation. In
with debt approaching $700 million, and its stock priced at 38 cents
a share, the New York Stock Exchange applied to the SEC to delist
the company. The stock had traded as high as $7.85 a share during
the previous 52 weeks.
The company is retrenching, and Mulvey says it is looking into all
options, including restructuring its loans, the sale of all or part
of its business, and bankruptcy. Four hundred employees, out of a
staff of 8,000, were laid off at the end of last year, and more
are possible in 2002. Nine of the employees who lost their jobs had
been working out of the Hamilton office. The company has announced
that 21 of its offices will be closed or consolidated. Mulvey says
the Hamilton office is not among them, and will stay open.
The IT Corporation, the entity in charge of the anthrax clean-ups,
is the largest wholly-owned subsidiary of the IT Group. In addition
to environmental clean-ups, the IT Group manages facilities, including
the Kennedy Space Center and a number of military bases, and takes
on wetlands projects. "We put the Kissimmee River back on its
natural course," Mulvey gives as an example.
Work on the anthrax clean ups continues. Mulvey says he checked into
the clean-up of the Trenton main post office, in Hamilton, as recently
as last week. "There’s nothing new in Hamilton," he says.
The post office still has not decided how to rid that facility of
its extensive anthrax contamination. Until a more encompassing
is decided upon, Mulvey says his company’s employees are working at
purging the anthrax by hand.
There has been talk that the Trenton post office clean up is just
too difficult, and that the facility should be abandoned. "If
they decide the clean-up is not worth it, I don’t know what that
says Mulvey. Could the building just be sealed? Or bulldozed? Would
that take care of the problem? Mulvey says it is a thorny question
and would require extensive input from the CDC and other experts in
Meanwhile, the IT Group is working on a solution to its financial
problems. Mulvey says he expects the company will be able to complete
its anthrax clean-up contracts. After all, he says, "anthrax is
a short term problem. Or, at least, we hope it is."
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
08540. Mark E. Hail, president. 609-951-0181; fax, 609-951-0185.
Four partners — one of them the owner of Taylor
Technology — have opened an analytical chemical services company
within the walls of Taylor Technology. It works with research
and managers to do consulting, contract analysis, devise products,
and research collaborations. It can work with mass spectrometry,
technology, nuclear magnetic resonance, and data management in any
of these industries: pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and chemical.
The partners are Jeff Whitney, Mark Hail, Dave Detlefsen, and Paul
"We provide our services and products separately or as complete
solutions that integrate all aspects of instrumentation, methods,
and data management," says Whitney. He majored in molecular and
cell biology at the University of Massachusetts (Class of 1990) and
joined B-MS in Connecticut, where he led work on ultra-high throughput
data processing. In 1998, for Coelacanth in East Windsor, he
the Analytical Chemistry Group. He is now vice president at
Taylor is a graduate of Michigan State with a doctorate in plant
from the University of Wisconsin who very successfully founded and
sold his first firm. He had opened an analytical environmental
that merged with others to form Enesco, the largest of its kind in
the country. It was sold to Corning in 1989. Then he opened Taylor
Technology in 1991 (U.S. 1, November 20, 1991). With Novatia, he plans
to collaborate on new drugs and proteomics.
Hail went to the University of Kentucky, Class of 1984, and has a
PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of Florida. He worked
on triple gradupole tandem mass spectrometers at Finnigan Corporation
in San Jose. He joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1994 as part of a
group, Investigative Analytical Research, to help automate the
of biological drug targets and synthetic organic compounds. He left
B-MS last year.
Detlefsen went to Nebraska Wesleyan University (Class of 1983) and
has a PhD in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He did
research at Harvard Medical School and went to Bristol-Myers Squibb,
where he developed NMR-based methods for the structure analysis of
biomolecules. He left B-MS last July.
"Our goal is to accelerate drug discovery and product development
cycles by providing services and products that address critical
application needs," says Whitney.
Suite 103, Princeton 08540. Ken Levinson, senior vice president.
fax, 609-951-9110. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
The six-person office of an executive career marketing
firm has tripled its space with a move from Forrestal Village to the
Carnegie Center. Founded by Grant Shannon, Merrill-Adams Associates
is based in Parsippany and also has offices in Philadelphia and
Center in Manhattan. It had been at Forrestal Village for 10 years.
Merrill Adams works in 100 different industries but focuses on a niche
market: fee-based services for senior level executives making between
$75,000 and $1 million. In 15 years it has placed more than 8,000
Merrill-Adams’ fees are determined by the effort that needs to put
forth. "If someone contracts with us, we do everything for
says Ken Levinson, senior vice president, "but we can do different
things for different people. Someone may require three resumes.
may need a biography and cover letter. The fee depends on how much
research and how much coaching is needed."
"Many times we will work with someone who is fully employed but
wants to make a change," says Levinson. He can help individuals
get an advancement within a company or empower them to transition
to a new industry. "I don’t think other companies specialize in
Levinson grew up in New York City and graduated in 1983 from York
College, in Queens, as a geological sciences major. He sold insurance
for Prudential and rose to managerial positions with a staff of 300
people in multiple locations. When he left in 1999 to join
he was a vice president.
The move was a quality of life decision, says Levinson. "I went
from managing large numbers of people in the insurance industry to
a very small company, from a very high-profile stressful job to a
family-owned business. And my involvement with marketing programs,
recruiting, and training gives me an unusual perspective on various
Levinson makes no promises about his success rate, which he says will
fluctuate according to the industry and the job market as a whole.
And just because the client pays a fee, he or she is not guaranteed
a job. "It is against the law for us to promise a job," says
Levinson. "We are not a job placement agency."
Box 5241, Princeton 08543-5241. Edward J. Noonan, president, CEO.
609-243-4200; fax, 609-243-4257. Home page: www.amre.com
After 18 years with American Re Corporation, Edward J. Noonan, 43,
will resign as president and CEO in March. The announcement was made
by Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company, which paid
$3.3 billion for American Re in 1996. Noonan took over as president
early in 1997.
As the company finished its third straight year of losses, Rainer
Kueppers, spokesman for Munich Re, told Rueters that "the
of American Re has not been as good as we would have wanted it to
Last year, with a huge bill from the September 11 attacks, was
bad, but there was trouble well before that. The Financial Times
in early-2000 that the entire U.S. re-insurance industry was in
and that things were particularly bad for American Re. The publication
quoted Noonan as saying, "it is hard to identify a line of
in the industry today which is adequately priced."
The Financial Times went on to say "while the industry’s combined
ratio in 1999 was already 114.3, the third highest of the decade,
American Reinsurance’s ratio was a desperate 120. In other words,
the company’s expenses and claims outweighed the income taken in on
premiums by an incredible 20 cents on the dollar."
Noonan subsequently reduced the ratio, and there was hope that the
company, the second largest in the U.S. reinsurance market, would
be profitable in 2001. Said Kueppers, "Our senior managers agreed
with Noonan that 2001 should end in profit. It became clear weeks
before the end of the year that this would not be the case, even
the losses from September 11. We discussed the situation and Noonan
Noonan, a graduate of St. John’s University, joined American Re in
1983 as a production assistant in the Treaty Division. In 1989, he
assumed responsibility for U.S. treaty operations, and in 1992, for
all business with U.S. insurance companies.
Noonan’s replacement is John P. Phelan, president of Munich Re’s
group. Phelan, 54, was born and raised in Kilkenny, Ireland, graduated
from Patrician College in Ireland, and worked for Guardian Insurance
and Lukis Stewart Price Forbes in Montreal. He joined Munich
Company of Canada in 1973.
He was a corporate account executive for Peterson’s.
agent for Weidel Realtors.
of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Princeton.
certified public accountant. A memorial mass will be Saturday, January
19, at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church in Princeton.
at the Medical Center of Princeton for more than 40 years.
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