The Takeover Pattern

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Dec 03

When your company is taken over by another, there is a pattern that is followed by the incoming management team. This pattern will take some time to develop, but the patter is almost always the same. Knowing the pattern can help you navigate your own position and career if your company is taken over by another. This played out with Washington Mutual and JPMorgan Chase and it is a worthwhile pattern to learn for your own career safety:

  • Company buys out victim company
  • Company assures employees that, while there will be layoffs, the incoming management team will work to understand each person’s value to the company
  • Incoming management team interviews most everyone to map out the new organization and policies
  • Incoming management announces layoffs at current and takeover company
  • Incoming management announces transition to unified organization

Monday, JPMorgan Chase announced 9,200 additional layoffs for the year. This included 3,400 ex-WaMu employees, mostly in the Seattle area. This was not unexpected. Indeed, for the transitional employees, there were hefty increases in pay and severance to stay on through the end of the transition period (save all that extra money, transitioned employees, you will need it in this job market!).

All in all, JPMorgan Chase laid off about 20% of the employee base at Washington Mutual. They made decisions quickly – reducing uncertainty is a good management move in this type of situation.

But, the bottom line is this: management’s mismanagement at Washington Mutual cost shareholders, customers and employees tremendous emotional and financial loss. Sure, everyone will eventually move on with their lives and recover. But this is a sorry ending for a company that was started in the 1800’s after the great (under reported) Seattle fire with the mission to rebuild their town.