The restructuring that LED lighting company Cree announced in June has largely bypassed the company’s U.S. workforce, with just 33 full-time jobs eliminated domestically, according to a Cree executive.
Even with those cutbacks, “our United States full-time workforce actually grew by about 1 percent” in the fiscal year that ended in late June, said Greg Merritt, vice president of marketing and public affairs at Durham-based Cree. At the same time, however, the net impact of the restructuring reduced the company’s workforce outside the U.S. by 710 workers during the 12 months that ended June 28.
“Those reductions were in our Asia operations to accommodate fluctuations in the business conditions over there,” Merritt said.
Cree announced that it was restructuring its LED business in late June in light of a diminished revenue outlook, but declined at that time to discuss the impact on jobs locally or elsewhere. But the company agreed to share some details of its restructuring with The News & Observer this week after it disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that its worldwide workforce of full-time and part-time employees fell by 743 workers, or 10 percent, during the fiscal year.
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“The reason we’re providing the information is, I don’t want anyone to jump to conclusions that we had more (job cuts) in the U.S. than we did,” Merritt said.
In addition, Merritt said the company currently has more than 140 open U.S. positions.
“We’re still hiring,” he said. Cree had 6,387 workers worldwide as of June 28.
Cree’s restructuring effort includes reducing excess capacity by consolidating two LED manufacturing facilities in Durham into one, as well as combining two plants in China into one. But Merritt declined to specify how many of the U.S. job cuts were in the Triangle, where the company previously reported it had about 2,600 workers.
Merritt said that the bulk of the job cuts in both the U.S. and overseas, “if not all of them,” have been implemented, coinciding with the announcement of the restructuring on June 24. He declined to address why, given that plants in both Durham and China are being consolidated, that the overwhelming majority of the job cuts were overseas.
Cree recently reported that it took an $84 million restructuring charge last quarter and said it would take an additional $18 million in restructuring costs over the next two quarters.