Xerox said Wednesday it would cut 15 percent of its workforce as part of a restructuring, the company’s latest effort to shift focus toward its business services offerings and away from its iconic copiers.
in a Press release, the company said it would reduce its global staff, which included approximately 23,000 employees in 2022, and name a new leadership team. The layoffs are expected to occur in the first quarter of 2024.
The company’s shares fell more than 12 percent after news of the layoff was announced. Its stock price had risen steadily over the past year, in part because Xerox had saved billions of dollars after starting a cost-cutting program in 2018. A reported drop of approximately 6 percent in revenue in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year.
Xerox was founded in 1906 as the Haloid Company. After being known primarily for manufacturing photocopiers throughout the 20th century, up to the point of “Xerox” became a verb – and under pressure from Japanese competitors such as Canon, it shifted its focus more on financial services, such as insurance and real estate.
That strategy ultimately failed and the company sold those divisions in the 1990s. In recent years, Xerox has struggled to adapt to the digital age as demand for ink and printed documents plummeted.
The transition would occur in fits and starts, with a series of moves that did not generate profits.
Under the leadership of Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox, the company sought to strengthen its business services by helping clients optimize document flow in human resources and healthcare and manage payment systems. In 2010 acquired Affiliated Computer Services, which manages E-ZPass highway toll computer payment services, for $6.4 billion.
But Xerox sold its information technology outsourcing business worth more than $1 billion in 2014, and competition from China in producing cartridge clone manufacturers hurt its profits. The company also tried to venture into 3D printing, but sold that business unitalso, in August 2023.
In 2018, the company announced that it would merge with Fujifilm, the Japanese conglomerate. That merger was called off less than three months later after activist shareholders, most notably Carl Icahn, protested the move as undervaluing Xerox. In 2019, Xerox attempted to acquire HP, but that deal was also canceled after HP rejected it, citing concerns about Xerox’s financial health.