Friday, March 13, 2009

Xerox - No good deed goes unpunished

I got this from AlphaAlert this morning. The title is Companies Facing Pension Deficits and EPS Impact On the chart called Estimated 12/31/08 US Pension plan funded stats ($mn) (3 tier yield curve), I found this:
XRX Corp
Liability 9.889b
Assets 7,659b.
Deficit 2,230b.
Market Cap 6,960b.
Good pensions are a good deed, But during this deep recession it's going to take some time and effort to get this fixed. $2,230 mn. is real money.

Free advice:
Consider setting up your own degree granting education program.

The cost of an undergraduate degree can be $250,000. Over $100,000 for graduate degrees. Degrees in information management, web/print design,document IT and teaching create real life opportunities going forward.

At PARC you already have the smartest people around. Get state certification. Do a combination of on line and on site education. Train the next generation for our industry, instead of trying to get colleges to do it. And retrain our generation so that they can truly benefit from the experience they've earned and lead the industry going forward.

Imagine how many applicants you would get for the Xerox Parc Graduate Institute or the Xerox Parc On Line Career Training Program delivered through Community Colleges

The short term payoff
is to offer upcoming retirees a package of free education + a health care net in return for changing the terms of the pension obligation. The really right thing to do is offer the same deal to folks who have had their pensions cut or eliminated as you try to get this fixed. It's hard to tell how many would take the deal, but if it is designed person by person it should get traction.

That takes a liability and turn it into seed money to go into the education business. That means no more money spent on "educating the customer." If they want education, do an online offering with a real world certificate attached. Give it to your customers for free or at a reduced cost.

It also might make you eligible for some of the stimulus money and more important - the education money that is going to be in the budgets going forward. Plus it should give a very nice boost to the brand in the education space.

It should be "a doing well, by doing good" and a "win-win-win" solution all around. Given the way the world works, it will have unintended consequences that will occupy the time of top management for years. But hey, that's you get the big bucks.

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