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Foxboro Co. Announces 1,600 Layoffs

September 10, 1990

BOSTON (AP) _ The Foxboro Co., a multimillion-dollar company recently bought by a British firm, announced Monday it would lay off 1,600 employees worldwide as part of a restructuring.

″While the path we have chosen is ambitious and initially painful, especially for the people directly impacted, the results of these actions will be improved prosperity and growth,″ said E. Barrie Stephens, chairman of Siebe PLC.

Siebe is a private manufacturer of electrical equipment headquartered in Windsor, England. It purchased Foxboro three months ago for $656.4 million, or $52 a share.

The firm now controls 98 percent of Foxboro stock, and has made arrangements to buy the final 2 percent of the Foxboro, Mass.-based company.

The British company said it would be laying off 1,600 people over the next two quarters from Foxboro, which makes process control instruments and systems.

John C. Fuller, a spokesman for Foxboro, said about 800 of the layoffs will be from four plants in Massachusetts, and the rest from its European facilities.

Fuller said Siebe was streamlining Foxboro and planned to restructure the company by increasing its global market and improving its manufacturing abilities and technology.

″I don’t think any of it is directly related to how much (Siebe) paid or didn’t pay. I think it is related to restoring the profitability level,″ Fuller said.

He said Foxboro had not made money in three of the last five years. ″This is looked more on as refocusing primarily on financial operations and sales and customer service and engineering operations,″ he said. ″In other words, focusing on the core of the business.″

Siebe completed the purchase of the company a week ago. On Friday, Gary K. Willis, president and chief executive officer of Foxboro, was fired and 300 employees at a plant in Foxboro were laid off. Fuller said the layoffs were across the board, with few departments remaining untouched.

Willis, whose firing was not announced until Monday, was not removed as part of the streamlining and will be replaced soon, Fuller said.

″I think the cutbacks over the past few years indicated the buck stops somewhere and someone had to take responsibility for it,″ Fuller said of Willis.

He said the restructuring was expected to take six months to complete.

Stephens said in a written statement the new headquarters for Foxboro Europe will be based in Germany, and will be the center of its sales and service organizations in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

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