Staffing Firm Hires Itself a CIO

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-08-08 Print this article Print

Recruiting and staffing firm Hudson names Michael Whitmer CIO for North America, hoping he'll help right the company's PeopleSoft project. Hudson is hoping to shore up a unit it says has been "below our expectations and aspirations."

Recruiting firm Hudson on Monday named Michael Whitmer CIO for North America, hoping he'll help right the company's PeopleSoft project.

Also Monday, Hudson's parent company, New York-based Hudson Highland Group, announced second-quarter earnings of $365.5 million in revenue and $600,000 net profit. Last week, Hudson Highland said it would restate first-quarter earnings "to correct accounting errors in Hudson North America" stemming from its PeopleSoft accounting system deployed last year. The company says its restated results for the first quarter of 2006 reflects net charges of $2.2 million, and says it has included net charges of $1.6 million in its results for the second quarter of 2006.

When asked for additional information about the PeopleSoft project, a Hudson spokeswoman pointed to an open letter to "shareholders, employees and friends" discussing its second quarter results which the company included in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. An Oracle spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the Hudson project.

In the letter, Hudson Highland said: "As previously discussed, we have had difficulties in using our new PeopleSoft financial reporting system in Hudson North America." It noted that "there has been no evidence of fraud or misconduct on the part of any employee."

In announcing Whitmer's hiring, Hudson emphasized his experience with "a multimillion-dollar PeopleSoft implementation." He previously worked for one of Hudson's rivals, Spherion Corp., where he was vice president of information services.

"Mike combines senior leadership skills with deep technical expertise," said Thomas B. Moran, president of Hudson North America, in a press release. "He clearly understands the complexity of staffing processes and the role that strong internal systems play in supporting client and consultant needs, as well as driving results."

Prior to Spherion, Whitmer was director of technology strategy for Witness Systems, a developer of call-center applications, and has also worked for Turner Broadcasting Systems and MCI.

The company says it created the CIO position specifically for the Hudson North America unit "in recognition of the tremendous impact efficient systems and processes have on the company's growth plans."

Hudson says it has contracted with Oracle, which sells and supports PeopleSoft software, to review the accounting system in two phases: first, a four-week assessment to determine how to "improve the effectiveness of the system," then a second phase to carry out those recommendations.

In its filing Monday, Hudson Highland said the North American unit has been "below our expectations and aspirations." For the quarter ended June 30, Hudson's Americas unit, which includes North America, reported $117.6 million in revenue and an operating loss of $4.6 million.

Hudson Highland also announced a restructuring program under which it will close "redundant sales functions and unprofitable offices" and consolidate support functions. Company spokesman David Kirby said 25 employees are expected to be laid off—which he said represents 4% of the North America workforce—and that Hudson's Milwaukee and Boston offices will be closed. At the end of 2005, Hudson Highland had 3,800 employees. Hudson Highland expects to record a charge of $4 million to $7 million in 2006 related to the restructuring.


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