100 Waverly jobs cut, shifted New owner moving 25 positions to Hagerstown

City presence maintained

June 12, 1998|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Seventy-five positions will be eliminated and 25 others moved to Hagerstown as the former Waverly Inc. becomes part of a new company, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, its new Dutch owner said yesterday.

Officials of Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Wolters Kluwer N.V. said the reduction among Waverly's 450 employees meets the pledge of a "substantial presence in Baltimore" negotiated by former Chairman William M. Passano Jr. and outlined in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

The new company is a combination of Waverly and another Wolters Kluwer company, Lippincott-Raven Publishers, a medical publisher with headquarters in Philadelphia.

Williams & Wilkins was a publishing label owned by Waverly, an international publisher of medical and scientific books.

"Joining one of Waverly's most well-known line of products with Lippincott, which has been around for more than 200 years, puts two very powerful names together," said Mary Dale Walters, a spokeswoman at Wolters Kluwer's U.S. headquarters in Chicago.

Edward B. Hutton, Waverly's president and chief executive, has been named chief executive of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

He will be based at offices formerly occupied by Waverly at the B&O Warehouse at Camden Yards, but the company's headquarters will be in Philadelphia, where there are 385 employees, Walters said.

Employees were notified of the job cuts and the name change yesterday. The reductions should occur during the next four to six months, the bulk in October, she said.

Passano said the 350 jobs remaining after Wolters Kluwer's $375 million acquisition of Waverly allow for an acceptable presence, as promised.

"I've looked over things and hoped I would find something I could take exception with, but I can't find any," he said. "Wolters Kluwer has made solid business decisions.

"No one knew exactly what the loss would be and, intellectually, Wolters Kluwer has met its commitment. I'm sorry for any job losses, but we knew there would be some."

Passano said the parent company's commitment to honor Waverly's eight-year lease at Camden Yards means the Baltimore operation has room to expand.

"I see long-term growth for the city of Baltimore," he said. "After it's all over and done with, we may see operations and activities start to come down to Baltimore from Philadelphia."

The 75 positions are to be cut "mostly due to overlapping functions with Lippincott-Raven," mainly in the finance and sales and marketing departments, Walters said.

If the 25 employees are willing to move or commute to Hagerstown -- where Wolters Kluwer has a customer service operation -- they can retain their customer service and order fulfillment jobs, she added.

Departing employees will receive severance packages equal to six to 12 months' salary.

Some will also be offered bonuses to remain until October, Walters said.

Some executives, including Chief Financial Officer E. Philip Hanlon and the head of the human resources department, also (( have lost their jobs, she said.

E. MacGruder Passano Jr., Waverly's vice chairman and secretary, will not remain with the new company.

William Passano, Waverly's former chairman, announced his retirement after Wolters Kluwer was identified as the buyer.

Four publishing units will operate from the Camden Yards offices, including medical society journals, hospital training titles, medical dictionary database and medical textbooks, Walters said. The office will also be responsible for finding new publishing projects.

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins will have 119 employees in Hagerstown after the 25 Waverly jobs shift there and 126 employees in New York, where it has editorial offices, Walters said.

With the acquisition of Waverly, Wolters Kluwer has become the second-largest medical publisher in the United States.

It has operations in 25 countries and annual sales of $2.5 billion.

The Dutch company also owns Aspen Publishers, a legal and health care publisher in Gaithersburg.

Its other U.S. holdings include CCH Inc., a tax publisher in Chicago; Facts and Comparisons, a drug publisher in St. Louis; and Legal Information Services in New York.

Pub Date: 6/12/98

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