Bank of America is reportedly considering laying off up to 40,000 workers, although few specific details -- including a time frame -- were discussed, according to The Wall Street Journal.
However, in the event the Bank actually follows through with this huge elimination, it would represent one of the biggest job culls in recent corporate history.
The job reductions have already claimed high-profile executives Sallie Krawcheck, former boss of the bank’s investment and wealth management units, and Joe Price, ex-president of global consumer and small business.
The bank lost a record $8.8 billion this quarter, putting enormous pressure on chief executive Brian Moynihan, who has been selling assets left and right to stanch the bleeding.
Since Moynihan took over the bank in January 2010, the company has lost more than half of its value, suggesting perhaps that he, too, may be on the chopping block.
Bank of America currently has about 280,000 employees worldwide – a reduction of 40,000 in personnel would represent a whopping 14.2 percent of its workforce.
That percentage matches the magnitude of layoffs contemplated by networking giant Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) in mid-July of this year. At that time, reports circulated that the ailing tech company would lay off between 5,000 and 10,000 of its workers. At the upper end of that range, that would represent 14 percent of its total workforce.
The actual job cull, which was announced a few days later, was 6,500 jobs, which accounted for 9 percent of Cisco’s total workforce of 73,000.
The last such massive job-slash by a major U.S. corporation occurred in mid-November 2008 (at the height of the global financial crisis, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers) when the Citigroup bank announced it would fire 53,000 workers.
Citigroup said at the time that the eliminated jobs would reduce headcount by approximately 20 percent from its peak of 375,000 employees as of year-end 2007.
At the time consulting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas said Citigroup’s measure was the second-biggest job cut ever undertaken by any company. The largest was in 1993 when IBM jettisoned 60,000 people in one fell swoop.
Also in January 1993, retailer Sears announced 50,000 job cuts.