Paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore is laying off about half of its IT department — more than 50 people — as it outsources its technology operations to an unnamed India-based vendor, according to the New York Post.
“They’re laying them off in waves in the spring, and they’re being forced [now] to train the people that are going to replace them,” a source told the Post. “This is the new culture.”
The move comes as Montvale, N.J.-based Benjamin Moore freezes the pensions of current employees. Benjamin Moore is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett’s 29-year-old financial assistant, Tracy Britt Cool, made the decision to freeze pensions. Buffett installed her last year as chairman of the company. “Tracy is remaking the company into her own image — a kid’s image,” one former executive said. “She’s eliminating all the incentives for company veterans to stay so she can hire a bunch of kids to replace them on the cheap.”
Company insiders acknowledge that the pension plan and in-house IT department were outdated. The Post reports that some “belt-tightening will be necessary to compete against faster-growing rivals like Sherwin-Williams.” Other sources said the cuts come after years of inattention to the company’s tech systems. Benjamin Moore decided to outsource IT after determining that updating its technology would cost $125 million.
Employees were taken aback in October when Buffett told CNBC that Benjamin Moore “is making a lot of money” despite reports of chaos there. “That’s not what they’re telling us come payday,” said one worker.