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[经济学人] [2007.5.17]The bulldozer

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发表于 2010-4-29 04:40 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
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The bulldozer 大刀阔斧的改革者

May 17th 2007
From The Economist print edition

René Obermann takes on the unions at Deutsche Telekom 勒内•奥伯曼(Rene Obermann)同德意志电信(Deutsche Telekom)业内工会一较高下

AFP  

BOOTING out bosses is something of a tradition at Deutsche Telekom. After running Europe's biggest telecoms group for seven years, Ron Sommer was ousted in July 2002 by the company's biggest shareholder, the German government. Kai-Uwe Ricke, his successor, lasted four years before getting the sack last November from the government and Blackstone, a private-equity firm that is now a big shareholder, after a series of bad results. And so René Obermann, who had been boss of the company's mobile-phone arm, moved into the hot seat.

裁撤总裁在德意志电信内部算是一种传统。苏默(Ron Sommer)在执掌这家欧洲最大的电信集团7年后,于2002年7月遭到公司的最大股东——德国政府免职。其继任者里克(Kai-Uwe Ricke) 任职4年末,因业绩连续堪忧而在去年11月被政府和现任大股东、私人股本公司黑石集团裁退。这样,曾任该公司移动电话分部主管的勒内•奥伯曼临危受命。

Mr Obermann faces exactly the same problem as Mr Ricke did. The former state monopoly is not competitive because of its bloated, expensive workforce. A close confidant of his predecessor, he is going ahead with “Telekom 2010”, Mr Ricke's cost-cutting programme, against staunch opposition from workers' representatives who control ten of the 21 votes on Deutsche Telekom's supervisory board. He is also pushing forward with the planned transfer of some 50,000 staff into three service units under the name T-Service, where they will have a 38-hour work week rather than today's 34-hour week and will have their pay cut by 9%, in return for a guarantee that their jobs will be secure until 2011. Mr Obermann has spent much of the past two months in talks with unions to win their support for all this, but to no avail. On May 11th around 11,000 Deutsche Telekom workers went on strike to protest against the creation of the new service units, which is due to take place at the beginning of July.

奥伯曼先生面临着和里克当初毫无二致的困境。臃肿的员工编制和巨额的花费开销导致了这家前国有垄断企业竞争乏力。作为其前任里克先生的挚交,奥伯曼先生不顾员工代表(这些代表掌控着企业监事会21个投票席中的10席)的坚决反对,着手推行由里克倡议施行的开支削减计划——“电信2010”。与此同时,他也在按计划将大约5万名员工移调至T-Service的三个服务部门。在这些部门,员工每周工作38个小时,而非时下的34个小时,并且会被减薪3%,以此换取公司保证他们稳定工作到2011年的承诺。在过去的两个月内,奥伯曼先生花费了大量时间同工会展开谈判,为这些措施争取支持,但都无果而终。5月11日,大约1万1千名德意志电信的职工举行罢工,抗议设立这些将于7月初投入运转的新型服务部门。

Rather than adopting the usual conciliatory tone to pacify organised labour, Mr Obermann, who is variously known as “Dobermann” and “the bulldozer”, toughened his rhetoric over the weekend. The door to talks with unions remains open, he said, but if a solution cannot be found, the service units might have to be sold. He speculated that Deutsche Telekom might be broken up or taken over by a foreign buyer if his reforms failed. Either scenario would mean more job losses than under his proposals, he warned. He thinks his offer to the unions is generous and says he could simply have moved service jobs abroad to a low-wage economy, as other telecoms firms have done. Union leaders responded by persuading some 15,000 employees to down tools on May 14th and 15th.

奥伯曼先生并不采用通常的安抚措施平复罢工的组织人员。相反,这位被人称为“杜宾犬”和“推土机”的总裁在周末态度强硬起来。他表示,与工会协商的大门仍然敞开,但若难以达成解决方案,服务部门可能付予出售。他推测,如果改革失败,德意志电信可能遭到拆解或被外商收购。他警告说,任何一种前景可能导致的减职数量都高于他的计划数。他认为提供给工会的优惠条件慷慨丰厚,并称可能效法其它电信公司,将服务岗位完全移往低薪国家。工会领袖做出回应,动员1万5千名员工在5月14、15两日举行了静坐罢工。

Mr Obermann hopes to reduce Deutsche Telekom's annual costs by as much as Euros4.7 billion ($6.4 billion) by 2010. The establishment of T-Service will save an estimated Euros500m-900m a year. Bigger savings should come from a programme, started in 2005, which involves shedding some 32,000 of the company's 248,000 employees by 2008 through voluntary redundancies. But this will not be enough, say analysts, who reckon that another 10,000 jobs a year will have to go between 2009 and 2011 if Deutsche Telekom is to become competitive with its rivals. Labour costs amount to a quarter of Deutsche Telekom's sales compared with 18% of sales at France Télécom, 15% at Telefónica of Spain and 12% at KPN in the Netherlands. Arcor, the second-biggest fixed-line provider in Germany, which is controlled by Britain's Vodafone, provides a comparable if not better service with a much smaller workforce.

奥伯曼先生希望在2010年前将德意志电信的年度开支减少47亿欧元(合64亿美元)。建立T-Service部门,每年节省的花费预计是5亿到9亿欧元。更大幅度的支出节流源于一项2005年启动的计划。该计划包括在2008年前通过自愿原则裁退公司24.8万员工中的大约3.2万名。不过,分析师们称此举效力有限。他们认为,如果德意志电信要与对手竞争,就须在2009年到2011年间每年多裁撤1万名员工。劳务费用高据该企业销售额的1/4;与此相比,相同的花销分别占法国电信的18%、西班牙电信的15%以及荷兰电信KPN的12%。德国第二大固网运营商Arcor目前为英国沃达丰集团的控股企业,其员工规模(与德意志电信相比)相形见绌,但提供的服务即使没有胜出,也起码是也与之相当。

Customers are voting with their feet. Last year some 2m of Deutsche Telekom's fixed-line subscribers in Germany defected to rivals. After a European Union directive obliged European telecoms companies to “unbundle the local loop”—jargon for granting rival firms access to the copper wires running into homes and offices—prices for fixed-line telephone calls fell in Germany by more than anywhere else in Europe. Smaller companies such as NetCologne, EWE and Versatel have attracted cost-conscious German customers with ever-cheaper flat rates for local calls. The mature domestic market, which accounts for about half of Deutsche Telekom's sales, remains the company's Achilles heel. Analysts say Mr Ricke should have expanded more rapidly into other countries, as rival firms did, in search of growth. Now Mr Obermann is under even greater pressure to expand abroad after Telefónica's recent investment in Telecom Italia, and he may try to buy France Télécom's mobile subsidiary in the Netherlands.

广大用户开始做出自行选择。去年,大约2百万名德意志电信的国内固话用户投向其竞争对手。一项欧盟法令责令欧洲各大电信公司实行”本地环路分类计价“——该术语表示给予竞争企业使用联接家庭和办公场所线路的许可。在此之后,德国固话资费的降幅超过了欧洲其它地区。诸如NetCologne、EWE和Versatel等小型公司利用低廉的地区统一话费吸引精打细算的德国用户。成熟的国内市场占据了德意志电信销售额的半壁江山,目前仍是该公司的软肋。分析师们指出,里克先生本该跟随竞争对手,加速扩展国外业务,谋求发展。在西班牙电信近期投资意大利电信企业后,奥伯曼先生压力倍增,准备扩张海外市场,而且可能竭力收购法国电信位于荷兰的移动业务部门。

Bring it on 着手施行

But Mr Obermann's handling of the strike will be the greatest test of his leadership. At 44, he is the youngest of the bosses of Germany's 30 largest companies and his rapid rise is evidence of his determination. After an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk he co-founded a mobile-phone company when aged only 23. Its sales reached several million euros within four years and the company was sold to Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong conglomerate, in 1991. Mr Obermann could have retired then, but Mr Ricke spotted him and convinced Mr Sommer to hire him to run Deutsche Telekom's domestic mobile arm. Mr Obermann is seen as a role model by a new generation of young, dynamic German managers. But he is now staking his reputation, as well as his job, on his reform programme.

不过,奥伯曼先生针对罢工的处理手法是对其领导才能最严峻的考验。他年仅44岁便成为德国30家规模最大的公司的总裁圈中最年轻的一位,他的极速擢升证明了自己行事果断。在做过业内办事员后,23岁的他就参与筹建了一家移动电话公司。该公司的销售额在四年内窜至数百万欧元,在1991年转售给一家香港综合企业和记黄埔(Hutchison Whampoa)。奥伯曼先生其时便可退职,但里克先生慧眼识才,说服苏默量材录用,擢其管理德意志电信的国内移动业务部门。奥伯曼被年轻活力的新一代德国管理人士视作楷模。但他目前实行的改革计划正威胁到自己的职位以及声誉。

The German government, which retains a 32% stake in Deutsche Telekom, is not helping, at least not in public. The finance minister is keen to see the company prosper, but does not want to appear to support large-scale job cuts. Even so, Mr Obermann is in a relatively strong position. No high-profile business figure wants his job because of the government's meddling and the cantankerous unions. And the unions are not as powerful as they would like to be. Some 40,000 of the 80,000 staff in Deutsche Telekom's fixed-line business are civil servants. This means they are unsackable, but it also means they cannot go on strike. Overmanning means that the firm will probably be able to function almost normally in spite of the dispute, says Frank Rothauge, an analyst at Oppenheim, a German bank. Indeed, a prolonged strike could be just the proof Mr Obermann needs of the urgent need to slim down the leviathan's workforce.

德国政府持有德意志电信32%的股权,却不发挥影响——至少在公众场合是这样。财政部长企盼公司业务繁盛,但似乎并不支持大规模的裁员行动。即便如此,奥伯曼先生也处于相对强势。由于政府的干涉介入和难缠的工会组织,没有任何知名的商界人士愿意入主该位。工会也不如自身所期待的那样能力巨大。德意志电信固网业务的8万员工中有半数左右是公务员。这意味着他们不能遭到裁退,但也表明他们无法举行罢工。德国奥本海姆(Oppenheim)银行的一位分析师弗兰克-罗萨格(Frank Rothauge)称,人员冗肿表明该公司尽管面临纷乱争端,还能够几乎正常地运转。事实上,奥伯曼先生或许正需要一场旷日持久的罢工活动来证明庞杂冗繁的员工数量亟待削减。
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:55 | 显示全部楼层
看了一遍,不错,用了很多四字词语,赞!!
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