Layoff letters go out to Bear Stearns staff

April 30, 2008

ax.jpgThe other shoe — or is it an ax — is finally dropping for staff at Bear Stearns, with letters going out this week telling them whether they’ll keep their jobs when JPMorgan’s acquisition is complete.

One Bear employee who works in the emerging markets business in London has received confirmation he will be laid off, he told Reuters on Wednesday. Another in the same department said he was expecting to hear later in the day that he would be retained.

“Some individuals and some businesses are beginning to hear what their status is,” added a source close to the bank.

A third London-based staffer who does not work on a trading desk, but on the business side said: “I’m waiting for my letter from JPMorgan to see about a job offer. I’ve been told verbally there is a job for me, which is a great relief.”

The total number of layoffs is not yet known, but more than half of Bear Stearns employees are expected to lose their jobs. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has declined approximately one thousand times to give details.

Not that it will come as much consolation to axed Bear Stearns employees, but executives including co-head of fixed-income Jeffrey Mayer, co-heads of equities Steven Meyer and Bruce Lisman, and former CEO Ace Greenberg are known to have survived the purge. CEO Alan Schwartz, CFO Sam Molinaro, controller Jeffrey Farber and general counsel Michael Solender may also eventually accept employment with the bank, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Ace Greenberg, who started as a Bear Stearns clerk in 1949, is gifting $360,000 to 25 longtime mailroom and clerical employees — $200 a month over six years. Greenberg “has sold over $30 million in Bear stock since early 2007,” the Times reported.

Photo: A man holds a battle ax during three-day Highland Games Festival in Fehraltdorf near Zurich, REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

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