The new owners of MAI Basic Four Inc., a Tustin computer maker, have fired the firm's two top executives and laid off 250 employees, including four of its 21 vice presidents. Ten of the 21 vice presidents were reassigned to other positions.
The cutbacks this month at Basic Four represent 15% of its domestic work force; the bulk of the dismissals--about 200 of them at the Tustin headquarters--occurred last Friday.
The layoffs were ordered by a group of investors led by Bennett S. LeBow of New York, who on Jan. 29 bought the company from New York-based Management Assistance Inc. for $105 million in preferred stock, notes and cash. William Weksel, Basic Four's acting chief operating officer, said that on March 4 the new owners fired company president Stephen J. Keane and Joe Barsa, president of the firm's worldwide marketing operations. Weksel said the LeBow group is looking for a new chief executive officer.
In addition, Weksel said, the new owners last Friday made staff cutbacks in all departments, including management and non-management employees. Weksel said the owners determined that the company, whose computer hardware and software operations have suffered two years of operating losses, could not turn a profit this year without slashing overhead. The large number of executives, he said, made the company costly and unwieldy.