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Alltel job cuts, restructuring to hit Florida

The company will cut 1,000 jobs - 100 in the state - while Tampa loses its regional headquarters status.

By HELEN HUNTLEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2001


Alltel Corp. said it is cutting 1,000 jobs, including 100 in Florida, as part of a reorganization that will eliminate Tampa as one of the company's regional headquarters.

The Little Rock, Ark.-based telecom company employs about 3,000 workers in Florida, including about 800 in the bay area. Alltel took over GTE Wireless' Tampa Bay operations last year to satisfy regulators' concerns related to the GTE-Bell Atlantic merger that created Verizon Communications.

Alltel declined to say exactly how many jobs will be cut Tampa but said the city will be demoted to a "market area headquarters" under the southeastern regional headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Other regional offices will be in Little Rock and Cleveland. Phoenix also is losing its status as a regional headquarters.

Among the jobs being eliminated is that of Dan Thompson, now the Tampa-based president for Alltel's southeastern region. He will retire after the transition, the company said.

Employees offered early retirement have until Feb. 28 to make a decision. After that the company plans to let workers go.

"It is imperative that Alltel have a flexible and responsive organization that can compete aggressively," president Scott Ford said.

Alltel employs more than 27,000.

Tim Burke, an analyst for Edward Jones, called the work force reduction a good move.

"The reorganization makes a lot of sense," he said. "All of the wireless companies have said that they're going to be coming under pressure this year, but we still think long term Alltel's doing the right thing."

Alltel shares rose 18 cents to $53.29.

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