Imminent Layoffs at XO?

June 4th, 2010 by · 114 Comments

Rumor has it that company-wide layoffs are about to hit XO Holdings (news, filings), an event which would put the COO Wayne M. Rehberger's announced departure earlier this week in an entirely new light.  The company may actually announce the workforce action publicly on Friday, but I'm not holding my breath given that XO usually only tells the outside world what it is legally required to.  The full scope of the layoffs are not yet clear, but internal rumors peg them as high as 10% of the total workforce.  If anyone has any further information either in favor or to the contrary of this rumor, please do speak up.

One place the layoffs will apparently hit hard is at a national accounts program aimed at cracking the Fortune 2000 that the company put in place in June of last year according to sources.  Very substantial resources had been dedicated to the project, which was backed personally, although unofficially, by majority owner Carl Icahn.  It was to be the future of the company, the growth engine that would finally put them on the map.  Initially led by an executive and top recruits lured over from other nextgen Tier 1 providers, the group was starting to make real progress.  But by the end of the year management had changed, Icahn's interest had faded, the purse strings had been cut, and the program is now a shell if that while much of the revenues it had generated are now churning off.

I can't help but notice how this timeline dovetails with Carl Icahn's attempt to buy out minority shareholders last year in early July.  That effort met resistance but finally fell apart late in the Fall and Icahn withdrew his offer, which corresponds quite well to the internal changes in the national accounts program.  Then the company repaid his class A preferred shares without raising new money, leaving their cash on hand below $100M as of Q1 while growth has sagged.  The inference: Icahn had a grand plan and was putting real resources behind it, but when thwarted in his attempt to take over fully he took his ball and went home.

So what does all this mean in the here and now?  Well, the obvious conclusion to draw from such a layoff event is that XO is trying to clean house and raise EBITDA prior to a sale of the company. In terms of headcount, a 10% layoff could bring savings of some $50M or more annually, which could raise annualized EBITDA toward the $200M mark.  Multiples for metro fiber are high right now and XO does have a nice pile of it, and therefore it would be a good time to sell if that is their intention.

Now, I've speculated often enough about who might want to buy XO and why that I'm not going to do it in detail here except to say that not much has changed:  TW Telecom is probably the best fit but Level 3 has reasons to bid as well.  Zayo and PAETEC were both rumored to be interested in the past and certainly might still be.  However, Icahn's real intentions are of course not so easy to divine.  What is he really up to this time?  Opinions are welcome!

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114 Comments So Far


  • Dave Rusin says:

    Buyers are not dumb … they won’t pay a high multiple for a company that was gutted just for a sale and artificial EBITDA – the buyer usually likes to make those decisions relative to synergies and strategy. Moreover, the growth, margins, etc. are coming from Enterprise — the same National Accounts group being desiccated

    Even this announcement will have competitors selling against the uncertain future of XO and the gutting of Enterprise resources.

    Buyers should wait for this to play out and the pumped up EBITDA to level off over time …

  • Anonymous says:

    In the immediate future this news probably puts a hold on a dilutive transaction for minority shareholders.

  • Tony g says:

    I know people who work there and this is bunk. No layoffs. Hell they just posted new job openings this week. No one posts new jobs the same week they are going to do layoffs.

  • Anonymous says:

    XO has had 2 layoffs every year since Icahn bought the company in 2003. Carl Grivner only knows how to cut cost by enacting RIF’s vs growing the revenue. Layoffs occurr twice a year like clockwork – how do you think bonusses are acheived every year for the executives -headcount reductions. The XO business model is broken b/c sales cannot outpace churn & their fixed overhead cost is out of line with their gross margins. Whoever buys them will have to deal with the bloated overhead structure & will be shocked when they discover their onnet revenue is a joke. Carl is not a seller until he burns the NOL’s & gets R2 out of his hair.

  • Tony g says:

    Again…I have 2 friends there this layoff is bunk. Starting to wonder why everything posted on XO in this blog has been less than 50 % correct over the past 2 years. Once again….they just posted new job openings

    • Rob Powell says:

      I’ve lost count of the times job openings were posted at a company the same week that the layoffs happen. Right hand, left hand.

      Actually though, I’ll take ownership of the ‘less than 50% correct over the past 2 years’. I certainly have predicted that Icahn would sell and have been completely wrong thus far. The man’s hard to predict.

    • fanfare says:

      I think it is unfair to make comments like “this blog has been less than correct (did you mean wrong?) 50% of the time…etc”

      First of all, those are shotgun stats … I don’t think you actually tallied any real percentage; secondly, wrong about what? Everything given was offered as opinion based on facts that were available to everyone. This site is a valuable source of information for those who follow telecom. Don’t like what is being said here? That is ok; you can always take the time, effort, knowledge, and insight to develop your own site.

  • Anonymous says:

    Layoffs in Florida at XO yes !

  • Tony g says:

    Let me guess….sales?

  • Anonymus says:

    Not just sales as is usually the case. I’m hearing other cities are hit too

  • Anonymus says:

    And Tony g, your friend that works at XO apparently doesn’t have correct information. They might want to check their sources.

  • Tony g says:

    Sales. That’s it confirmed

  • Anonymus says:

    uh huh, tell that to the non sales people let go

  • Work there says:

    How about the Denver Center that laid off 30 techs last week

    • Anonymous says:

      The Saginaw call center lost 24 last week and the Denver was gutted in May. SLC call center also had lay offs. while there were some sales people let go, from what i’ve experienced it’s about 50/50. In the meantime, the Sales idiots are holding their annual wing ding in New Orleans. If the company would stop spending money on this sort of thing and execs who don’t know a copper wire from a clothesline, this company would be good. they are exec topheavy.

  • helmom0819 says:

    Tony G, there were layoffs….today infact…your friend might want look around and see who’s not there…

  • Tony g says:

    All hired to other positions…lease up in crappy building…next..

    • HRM says:

      TONY G is WAY off.
      Wayne was forced out & Grivner is next. Wagner will be the CEO by the end of Q4.

      XO laid off 250+ non-revenue generating employees less than a month ago.

      On Friday XO eliminated 150 revenue generating employees from the Business Services division alone.

      I’m not sure of the total.

      This appears to be a reactive, yet completely ineffective, attempt at damage control to stop the bleeding. XO has less than $100M in the bank and no one offering up capital.

      The RIFs are nothing more than a band-aid on a hatchet wound.

      • Frank A. Coluccio says:

        I think it’s more than just a band-aid. It’s indicative of how companies that are led by the nose follow the dictums and ethos of Wall Street’s large corporate investment firms that advise them. In the case of XO, the dynamic is much closer to home, since the company is doubly-blessed with having an insider at the helm. Essentialy invest-cos have come to handle their own internal employees as though they were merely piece-parts of a larger liquidity problem. This has been my view for quite some time now, so I was especially pleased when I recently came across these two, short review (below), which I highly commend reading:

        An Anthropologist on What’s Wrong with Wall Street
        http://tinyurl.com/nqofxy and http://bit.ly/90kAyM

        frank@fttx.org

      • DizzyDee says:

        HRM- well said. Once Wagnor slides into CEO, Toplisek XO’s CMO, will run Business Services.

        This is nothing more than the fly-wheel effect. Look for this to be repeated in 12-18 months, if Icahn hasnt sold the company assets.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pretty cocky Tony…you must work for XO….however you need to check around cause there were layoffs today.

  • Anonymus says:

    Tony, you apparently have no clue…go somewhere else to spread your bad info. You are not helping the morale of those that were let go or those that read this that know of people let go.

  • Tony g says:

    Didn’t say it to offend just relaying

  • DizzyDee says:

    Tony G- I also have friends that work at XO. Cuts happened. And they cut deep. 2 Directors were demoted to individual contributors. Marketing got axed. Project Management reduced. Sales reps were dropped. I understand the employee morale has dropped, and many are scared thinking they’re next, making it nearly impossible to do their job. I’m sure everyone at XO has checked a job board site today.

  • Rob Powell says:

    I wish it weren’t true, that I had been wrong. Good luck to all those affected, I hope you land on your feet ASAP.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rob, i, personally, appreciate your article (for a lack of better word) i’m glad someone finally said what i’ve been thinking for a couple years..i think this plan has been in motion for some time..and its finally coming to light. I work at XO, and its hard to see what was once a good company to work for, go down the tubes.

    Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

  • Anonymous says:

    I saw this coming months ago. It all coincided with Carl Icahn’s buyout offer. When he wasn’t able to buy out the remaining XO shares, he went into a completely different direction. I don’t know what his thinking was bringing in senior management from Global Crossing beginning in January 2009. What? The guys from Enron weren’t available? These managers were the same people who managed to run up over $110B in debt and run Global Crossing into the ground. XO, under the new management (a new CEO of Business Services and 31 new General Managers nation-wide), has done nothing but consistently underperform the previous management. They’ve managed to kill employee morale by managing by metrics. They can’t get anything provisioned anywhere near a 60-90 day turnaround these days. So the way they fatten up their numbers is by laying off a percentage of their work force so they can show their potential investors their numbers aren’t completely out of whack. I have to suspect that Mr. Icahn is looking to sell off XO Communications.

    The layoffs did happen. As many as 12 people were let go today from the New York office.

    • Anonymous says:

      As soon as Dan Wagner got into XO he has layed people off – entire departments to make his numbers look good. I’m sure he got a great bonus while the rest of us were told no merit increases for the 2nd year in a row and we watch all our co-workers get layed off. It’s not just sales – it’s every dept in XO. Sad, sad….

      • Anonymous says:

        He has cut the fat. Lazy sales folks who wait for opportunities to hit them in the head. Not actually work for them. Whats wrong with changing the focus and energy to ensure there’s a sense of urgency? The competition is doing it … you can’t just think your ok …. when you know your not. you have to take action. I applaud Wagener for doing so.

  • Anonymous says:

    If true about the reductions at XO it is too bad the sales force reductions didn’t go deeper in NYC sales office. Some of the legacy sales leaders and sales members do nothing to grow the business but then complain when they are being held accountable to higher standards like actually selling! Talk about double standards … I applaud the XO CEO for making people work for their money.

  • Brian G says:

    Sounds like Sales and Sales Support got the cuts. From where I stand in the Telco industry most people in sales get complacent and after awhile move to another provider any way. I hate to see this happen to anyone but if the numbers are not there then sales team takes the hit. That’s all I see this as. Everyone who lost their jobs I feel for them in the economy and with them the best. Funny thing is every time XO does anything the first thing you here is they are getting sold or going bankrupt. Let’s see what they come out with as far as an announcement.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work at XO and can confirm that May 28th was the last day of work for around 25 repair technicians working in Lone Tree, CO. I know there were other layers, but from a customer care stand point those positions will hurt the customer experience the mos. Our repair techs already had too many tickets to work, so unless tickets were highly escalated they are not getting the attention they deserve.

  • Anon says:

    Fwiw, I am surprised that people seem to care this much about xo – a perennially under-performing clec. Their financial results aren’t great, so they cut costs (can’t make revenue & ebitda appear by hope). At the same time, better run telcos (e.g., TW) and new entrants (e.g., Cogent, Clearwire) are born, grow and take share. Did anyone really expect otherwise ??

    • Rob Powell says:

      Depends on your point of view, Anon. Many investors in the sector likely share your thoughts, as they have long since left Icahn’s orbit. However there are a few thousand who work at XO who likely see things differently at the moment.

  • Tin Can Telecom says:

    Anon…This is more a reation to people being treated as numbers so that top execs make their bonus. That’s what has people stirred up. I feel for them.

  • FCKXO says:

    How about they stop giving away these sales trips and BMW leases. Dont tell me you cant give me a raise while handing out these fn trips and rewards if you are cutting back on spending and laying good people off why are they still giving out these sales trips and cars leases. Time to update the resume

    • Anonymous says:

      And dont forget about ALL the managers getting their yearly bonuses…raises haven’t been give in 2 years..

    • Anonymous says:

      As an outsider looking in …. Why don’t you stop your complaining and grab a sales bag and start selling!! Then you can either win a trip or get let go for underperformance. Its pretty simple!

  • xoxo says:

    The layoffs had already been coming most of the people that were layed off already knew it was coming. They are migrating the CO trouble center to Dallas so all tickets will be worked under the same roof. As for the sales side it was time to clean house and get people in there that will sell something.

  • Anonymous says:

    AND…the layoffs continue.

  • Anonymous says:

    The layoffs have exceeded 340 FTE’s confirmed so someone tell Tony G he is clueless. XO is a sick company with phenominal assets, great people & a selfish controlling owner. Carl is such a hypocrit with respect to shareholders rights. Until these assets are owned by someone else they will decline in value.

  • brutha says:

    My brother works for XO, and I work for another telecom, so we share our thoughts/concerns quite often about our respective companies. I’ll give you his opinion in a shotgun-style:
    – RIF’s happen every year like clockwork (only to hire more people in Q4 in years past). Nothing shocking here, and not as big as 8-9% like somebody said above.
    – Some RIF’s or departures are being caused by true efficiency-related centralizing of some tasks/job duties
    – At least in Sales, he hears they definitely trimmed the fat but did not let go of anyone who was actually producing
    – However, he’s not sure what upper mgt. is doing, but few people trust them anymore. Many over there share the same sentiment as above: “Hard to watch a good company go down the tubes”. Many moves are killing morale and getting people worried (apparently he heard the new comp plan is horrible so Sales isn’t too pleased).
    – Anyone who complains about sales trips (above poster) doesn’t understand Sales. They are a necessity (and XO’s are relatively tame). My brother heard they are giving away only TWO leases for the entire sales force this year…that’s nothing.
    – He feels that while XO is poorly run, they do provide a good product. Who knows how great XO could be with the right leadership.
    – From the outside looking in…I’m personally not sure why Icahn would hire GlobalX people to make XO a truly profitable/successful company. Track Record? They must be there for another reason.

  • 2 questions says:

    When is the last time Icahn has ever seriously shopped XO?

    Could this at all be debt covenant related?

    • Rob Powell says:

      1. He wants to buy it for a song first, he hasn’t seriously shopped it that I know of in a very long time if at all.
      2. They have no debt right now, just preferred shares owned by Icahn. Hence, no covenants.

  • jose antonio says:

    I am asking my self when GC will start their reductions program, it looks an standard in the industry now days.

  • Anonymous says:

    XO has frozen all travel.

    Do you really think Enterprise clients will do business with a company by methods only conducted through phone and email?

    What a joke!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just found out that XO has frozen all travel.

    If I’m a client, I will certainly think twice about doing business with a client that cannot visit with me.

    • anonymously says:

      Seriously as someone who sells telecommunications by phone & email but spent years as a outside sales rep you would be amazed who will buy from someone using just the phone & emails. You can have a nice suit and still be lame Having. Customers know experience when they see it and hear it. The whole sale market is done a lot by call centers. I am way more responsive sitting, picking up the phone on the first ring then sitting there in traffic traveling to and from appointment. I sold to the largest companies in the world with Qwest and they still managed to screw up everyone of my deals – Speaking of clowns

  • Glengarry Glenn Ross says:

    The clown they have running the National Accounts Program should be running a hot dog stand, not a national sales organization.

    The irony will occur if Global Xing purchases XO and brings the ax down on all the ex-Global boys who left for XO thinking they could turn the titantic. XO is an SMB machine at best and will never become the F50,500,1000 presence it has boasted of becoming. Simple, you can’t build lasting consultative relationships with F50,500,1000 customers when your attrition is that of XO. If they have even heard of XO, the customers know the deal. Most have not.

    Re: frozen travel? That is simply a result of poor sales management.

    Maybe they should send in Alec Baldwin down from Mitch & Murray to bust some heads. Kevin Spacey holds the leads…

    • Anonymous says:

      The Leads: you cant have the leads. Hit the bricks Pal!

      Well said GGGR. I currently work in the National Division within XO, but I’m not sure how much longer. I’ve debated posting any comments, but I feel my collegues who I currenlty work with, and the solid people who were let go on Friday are due justice.

      This whole notion of the XO’s National Accounts Division has went south. The leader who got let go had a certain vision to take the telecom market by storm, enhance XO’s brand, and rejuvenate the company. If you think about it, how easy would that be to do in this current market. Clients want to leave AT&T, VZ, Sprint, but there are no other alternatives. When I joined, I saw the cause that was being promoted. The financial backing was there, the plans to for strategic fiber builds were supported, the pre & post sale support was being put in place. At that time the Fortune 1000 Market was XO’s oyster. Unfortunatley, the ambassador of the National Program, the chief strategist behind XO’s turnaround was let go for discretionary reasons.
      Then what happens: you guessed it, the whole program goes sour. Investments are not supported. Client support weakened. Marketing incentives not blessed. The revamp of XO’s National Program never happened. Why? Maybe the senior leadership. Or maybe the fact that the SVP replacement is a pizza boy who’s career highlight is being a sales manager at VZ with 4 direct reports. Why in the world was someone with so little expierience given so much responsibility? Answer: because he and the Chief Marketing Officer are childhood best friends. So, instead of choosing the best possible candidiate with proven leadedship expierience, XO goes through the buddy system and promotes a hack who should be running a pizza parlor.

      Bottom line: XO has made some very poor choices. Not only are the employees suffering from loss of morale, but the clients are suffering for lack of support. XO will never be anything better than an SMB carrier.

      This is not only my opinion, but also the general consenus of XO employees.

      • The Pizza Man says:

        I was one of the national reps let go– big cut across the company. This is the 4th try at the national level for XO. When the SVP was cut, the train went off the tracks. His replacement is lost in the woods. There will be numerous departures in the coming months of the National reps and the national division will again be regarded a failure. XO is an SMB company, end of story.

  • Joe Mama says:

    well, anonymous really put it out there. From what I’ve heard and know, the real reason for these layoffs is to get ebitda in line with targets. Like most other companies, when the sales are lagging, the cuts have to come from someplace. Since XO doesn’t provide free coffee to their employees, they cut bodies. I wonder, how many out there can honestly say that the cuts in Sales were on productive people? From what I hear from inside and out, the Sales teams were selling below expected volumes. There was a complacency about turning in less than expected numbers. Could be a hold over of all the bodies hired a couple of years ago and many of those just not the type capable of developing true customer relationships with the Fortune 500 customers? The problem, the way I understand it is that many of these sales reps are ‘ok’ in the smb market, but could not develop into a consultative/strategic sales salesforce. Who’s fault is that? Do you keep trudging along with people who can’t get it done or do you revamp and focus on those who can? There have been some other comments, above, from some who have insinuated the same. So, now to get on a box and beat-up the team running Natl Accounts? I don’t get it? Yeah, they brought people in from GC, but the fact remains. The sales team was not performing or delivering and anyone with any time in sales knows that each rep is responsible for running their own business. Everyone can bitch and complain but it’s no different at VzB , ATT, Level3 you name it. They all have their issues and systems problems. It’s the successful reps that manage through all the noise and red-tape and sell.
    Hopefully those who made the cut recognize that they remain for a reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      THE #1 PRODUCING DIRECTOR IN THE NATIONAL PROGRAM WAS LET GO BECAUSE OF PERSONAL DIFFERENCES WITH THE VP OF THE GROUP AND CMO….NOT BASED ON PERFORMANCE

      • XOInsider says:

        Also- the NE Director has been forced to step down due to Health reasons. Not his choice, but XO’s demand.

        • The truth be known says:

          Anonymous,
          I just want to keep the record straight….I know the NE Director very well. He asked to step down due to the nature of the health issue. XO did not demand anything. In fact the company has been very accomodating and concerned in the treatment of the NE Director.

      • NotAsBitterAsYou says:

        Is that really true or was this person someone who had a hard time telling the truth, tried had to broker deals without executive support, and someone who consistently under-delivered? I believe every personnel move was a calculated decision that had nothing to do with personal feelings.

        • Anonymous says:

          Truth be know as is accurate. The NE Director was not let go b/c of personal differences. No story here folks. More FUD from uninformed.

  • jose antonio says:

    I worked with Dan Wagner and he know nothing at all about sales.
    He Only knows how to sell Himself , and that is not enough and
    If he will the next CEO poor guys, and shareholders.
    bad future for XO

    • Anonymous says:

      Carl Icahn should fire Grivner-Wagner-Toplisek today for their lack of leadership, and lack of understanding of business. What XO needs is a key team of Visionary leaders

      Visionary leaders are the builders of a new dawn, working with imagination, insight, and boldness. They present a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose.

      They work with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose. Their eyes are on the horizon, not just on the near at hand. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the big picture and thinking strategically.

      There is a profound interconnectedness between the leader and the whole, and true visionary leaders serve the good of the whole. They recognize that there is some truth on both sides of most polarized issues in our society today. They search for solutions that transcend the usual adversarial approaches and address the causal level of problems.

      They find a higher synthesis of the best of both sides of an issue and address the systemic root causes of problems to create real breakthroughs

      Everyone reading this post should write to Carl Icahn today and demand that he remove these ineffective managers from his company. It’s not too late.

      You can reach Carl Icahn at:

      Icahn Enterprises
      767 5th Ave.,
      Ste. 4700
      New York, NY 10153
      Phone: 212-702-4300
      Fax: 212-750-5841

      • Icahn is the problem says:

        On June 15, 2010, the Reporting Person, on behalf of R 2 , sent the following letter to the Issuer’s independent directors:

        Dear Messrs. Knauss, Gradin and First:

        You have let another perfect opportunity to raise additional capital at attractive rates again slip away. The past 5 months saw a revival of the credit markets for the first time since 2006, but you let the opportunity pass. This should come as no surprise to us given that we have seen you pass by numerous other such opportunities.

        This inaction is even more troubling when coupled with statements in the company’s most recent Form 10-Q regarding its intent to raise additional capital:

        “[I]n order to maintain our competitive position, we intend to raise additional capital and continue to explore various alternatives to obtain additional capital. We continue to believe that these alternatives should not include an issuance of high yield debt. . . .”

        Currently, the company does not have any debt at all, and while we still believe that the company should pursue alternatives that do not require it to raise any additional capital, if you do raise capital, we believe you MUST consider a debt offering. Ask Mr. Icahn whether he raised debt or equity in the other companies that he controls earlier this year, and you will find that your own chairman chose to raise high-yield debt at what he evidently considered to be extremely attractive prices.

        Worst of all, your inaction leads us to believe that your real intention is to issue more equity to Mr. Icahn to accomplish your ultimate goal of allowing him to complete a squeeze-out of all the remaining minority shareholders at what we believe would be a rock bottom price.

        We further believe that you have already destroyed enough value for the minority shareholders by passing up numerous unsolicited third-party offers for the company that would have allowed the minority shareholders to realize what one of the potential bidders valued at approximately $10 per share. It is time that each of you begin to perform your fiduciary duties to ALL shareholders and solicit opinions in the boardroom other than those espoused by Mr. Icahn.

        We continue to encourage you to look for strategic paths that do not require additional capital or, if absolutely necessary, that the additional capital come in the form of third-party debt so that you do not continue to hand Mr. Icahn the company. Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is served and the rights of minority shareholders are protected.

        • That's 3 pending lawsuits says:

          That’s 3 pending lawsuits against Carl and XO. Funny how the media or even XO’s employees doesn’t ever mention how Carl is screwing these minority shareholders.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dan Wagner has no idea what good company culture is all about. His idea of acknowledgement for you doing a great job is simple mentioning it in a sentence. All be it something like, “I saw you sold $100K to XYZ last month and $100k to ABC this month. I am expecting double that next month….now kiss my ring and get back to work.”

  • Anonymous says:

    I say it’s just time. The work load has significantly slowed down. Morale is at an all time low…and the endless days of boredom are old.

  • Anonymous says:

    XO has always been a horrifically run company and has been even more of a joke sense Ichan took over post Bankruptcy. Those who work at XO have been delusional ever since, thinking that Ichan invested into XO because it was a “great company” and had a promising future. Carl could care less about the company or it’s employees. The only reason he invested in this turd was because of the NOL’s to offset his real investments. That’s it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am curious, how many GC employees that had jumped ship so that they could sail at XO have lost their jobs in this RIF? I know there were a significant amount of individuals who drank the koolaid at XO. Are they still standing?

    • Anonymous says:

      I doubt any of them have. When gogo dan wagner was brought in, he seemed to add yet another layer of GC execs with 6 figure salaries, which just added another layer of confusion. Gogo’s communications to the rank and file have been idiotic as well.

  • jose antonio says:

    Dan go go Wagner did nothing at all during his GC´s short live.
    But we should recognize that nobody (included the arrogant young…… Neil Barua or Tplisek before) did something
    The problem is not only XO I believe is more a General problem of this “generation” of companies
    Them we should ask ourselves why?

  • NotAsBitterAsYou says:

    I’m disappointed Rob, your second to last paragraph is sans references? How can you spread ramblings from disgruntled workers without any facts to back it up….any facts at all?? I hope not for one second that you consider yourself part of the “media” cause your rumor mill type posts with often very little if any facts only help stir the pot of unproductive workers looking to vent on their inadequacies. Still time to turn it around….let see some references.

  • Anonymous says:

    To Not as bitter as you – You are a corporate HR hack that has no common respect for the people you work with. Ops has been told by the BIG FAT guy that we to lose at least 3%. We had to put the names in today to HR for approval. Rob did a wonderful service trying to help us employee’s who are trying to do their best with a difficult situation. The upper management does not care about the customer! If it was not for the low level managers and tech’s all the customers would leave! Billing still sucks! The care department needs tremendous help! The HOPE and BARMAN show is killing what is left of a good department. This is just part of the screw ups at XO.

    • Anonymous says:

      Add NILSSON to the mix as well. He is more interested in golf and his side businesses than XO. He’s never around.

  • Truthsayer says:

    I am a NAS rep that is still employed, as of today, at XO. I must defend some of the comments that have been made on this board about cutting the dead wood of NAS reps at the company. The truth of the matter is all the NAS reps that have been cut are people that have been with the company less than a year. All the folks I knew and met were pretty sharp folks that are skilled at building relationships and bringing in revenue – of course you have to have the right company and product to do so. The folks that were brought in all had the skill level, desire and work ethic to succeed at this company. These folks weren’t lazy or lacking in skill or desire. The issue is the short sightedness of management and lack of commitment to a long term vision or strategy.
    I am not sure if the senior leadership running this place is seriously incompetent, smoking crack or have never sold to a F2000 account before but you are not going to walk in the door, learn the companies systems, products services, initiate discussions with these accounts, earn their trust and start seeing revenue in a short period of time. For those of us that have sold revenue, it is more luck and timing than skill.
    XO’s services are not unique. Any element can be purchased from someone else. Customers view the product and services in telecom as a commodity. As a commodity item, price is important but for the most part the same price can be achieved from almost any provider. The customer must have confidence that you/the company will deliver in all the different areas that impact the customer’s experience of selecting a particular vendor. More often than not, it’s just much easier and convenient to deal with the incumbent or major provider than trying something new.
    XO’s desire to move into the F2000 accounts will be a slow and difficult process. Unfortunately, these buffoons make it much more difficult by going through there semiannual employee reductions. Not to mention all the turnover they have from running quality folks out of the business because they haven’t had the same luck as others.
    What these clowns in management don’t realize is by their short sighted actions we are seriously losing credibility with our prospects and existing clients. It’s not going to matter how good we as reps are or not when the customer doesn’t trust the company to retain their employees and be able to service their accounts. We are asking these companies to commit to for the most part three year agreements for services yet they have no idea if their account team will be still with the company in the first year. If they look at past history, it’s a pretty sure bet their account team will be gone.
    XO has a credibility issue with it’s customers which is hurting churn and ability to attract new customers. Constantly churning sales people, rearranging customer care relationships is having a serious impact on retaining existing revenue and selling new revenue. This is an issue I think many of the telecom companies are facing and not just XO. However, in my experience, it’s a much deeper and more serious issue at XO than other telecom companies. The frustrating part is most customers will tell you that the most important assets a company has are its people and their relationships with them. The assets in the ground are certainly important but in the scheme of success, a company’s employees are their greatest assets. Unfortunately, I don’t believe Carl Icahn and company will ever comprehend or know how to manage this type of asset. As a result, XO will constantly be a poor performing company waiting for someone else to come save it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Icahn is now fighting a second class action suit from XO minority shareholders (on top of all the R2 litigation)… looks like he is getting ready to put the “FOR SALE¨sign at the door real soon and walk away from this

  • San Ramon says:

    Senior Leadership at XO is very short sighted and all they care about is their own pockets. Just look at the San Ramon office. I know for a fact that they booked bogus sales. Time and time again this office violated sox complaince. Start with Jeff Tarpley and his San Ramon cronies and guaranty that most of his sales are not billing because of bogus deals.

    • XO Insider says:

      Same with the Bank of America deal. No contracts where executed, the services didnt install, yet XO took the credit for the sale forecasting the results and paying commissions. Bonuses where paid, trips were earned, etc for a bogus sale. Totally unethical, and nobody blew the whistle.

      Any other XO insider that knows the details of the BoA deal, please share.

      • Another XO Insider says:

        XO is taking credit for non-binding Letters of Intent. This is how they have booked numerous deals in the nationals arena. The problem is that they then have to get through master service agreements and the NAS reps have to spend hours upon hours arguing legalaties instead of searching for new business. The reps have to work with an inept legal team that is way overworked and lazy. That’s how many of these deals are falling apart.

      • Anonymous says:

        boa deal fell thru because of unrealistic demands rom the customer – xo had to pay for vendors who sat on site for hours while the customer delayed turnups time and time again…..in the end – it was a better deal for xo to pull the plug rather than lose money on services that would have taked years to recoup the investment….

        • XO Insider says:

          Still- why did they pay commissions? Why did XO award the seller a trip to the Bahamas and recognize his false achievement. Why did XO take credit for the sale and count the revenue?

          BoA is just one deal…just one….how many other deals are out there that XO has cheated on. I’m surprised the FCC hasnt looked into this matter.

          XO prides itself on its ethics….give me a break!

  • Anonymous says:

    Have any of you XO clowns bought your own stock over the last year?

  • XO-LOOOOOOOOSERS says:

    Yes. The company is loaded with clowns. Have you ever bought your own company’s stock?

    Paetec or TWTC will finally buy this turd and gut the entire operation. Brush up your resume.

  • Anonymous says:

    I love XO

  • Anonymous says:

    I love laughing at XO

  • BoA is billing – have been for several months.

    Yes, I bought a ton of XO stock right before Icahn made his bid of 55 cents per share to purchase the approx 20 percent he does not currently own. I made a killing! I held it through the first offer to the 2nd offer and my $1000 dollar investment turned me a cool $5k profit.

    Typical sales people on this thread of comments talking about why they can’t sell because this person changed my comp, or this account had screwed up billing, or we don’t have service in X market so I can’t sell… These excuses are consistent throughout every company among every group of struggling sales people.

    I have been with XO for just over two years now and from what I can tell, if you sell you get paid – I happen to be one of the selling salesmen who understands change takes time, is often resisted, and comes with a handful of naysayers, see above.

    In my tenure, XO volunteered to pay for my CCNA course work and test, has given me two merit increases, and has sent me to a number of training courses encompassing sales, management, and negotiation techniques.

    Now that isn’t to say the company is perfect, however if we want to look at the bar for big CLEC’s, I’d say with $0 senior debt (L3 approx $6 billion, Paetec approx $800 million, TWTC approx $1 billion) XO is in a position to wrangle their beast of 100k + customers and turn consecutive profits quarter after quarter.

    From the look of these posts, I’d say XO did a pretty good job cutting the sales people who were in it for ramp payments. Have fun at Covad & SpeakEasy gents! I think Cogent may be hiring as well 🙂

    • Truth hurts! says:

      The truth really does hurt! XO and there executives did the right thing, they cut the dead weight. Carl Icahn did not invest millions to grow a network for fun, and then sell at a time like this. He did so, for those that can sell on a grind-to-grind level. Those that did get let go, was because they did not have the skills to grow, and then execute a strong funnel per a “telecom” timeline.

      I understand the world of unemployment, it is very hard. However, denial, on one companies strategic initiatives (short and long-term), is pathetic.

      btw- that National Accounts Team many of your frown upon, has sold well over quota the last two months. The numbers they are bringing in, are stronger than a whole sales force that many of you will end up at.

      • Pizza Boy & the Green Hornet says:

        I think the person who wrote the following sums up XO’s failure precisely.

        Good luck to the PizzaBoy & Green Hornet…..you know who you are….

        This whole notion of the XO’s National Accounts Division has went south. The leader who got let go had a certain vision to take the telecom market by storm, enhance XO’s brand, and rejuvenate the company. If you think about it, how easy would that be to do in this current market. Clients want to leave AT&T, VZ, Sprint, but there are no other alternatives. When I joined, I saw the cause that was being promoted. The financial backing was there, the plans to for strategic fiber builds were supported, the pre & post sale support was being put in place. At that time the Fortune 1000 Market was XO’s oyster. Unfortunatley, the ambassador of the National Program, the chief strategist behind XO’s turnaround was let go for discretionary reasons.
        Then what happens: you guessed it, the whole program goes sour. Investments are not supported. Client support weakened. Marketing incentives not blessed. The revamp of XO’s National Program never happened. Why? Maybe the senior leadership. Or maybe the fact that the SVP replacement is a pizza boy who’s career highlight is being a sales manager at VZ with 4 direct reports. Why in the world was someone with so little expierience given so much responsibility? Answer: because he and the Chief Marketing Officer are childhood best friends. So, instead of choosing the best possible candidiate with proven leadedship expierience, XO goes through the buddy system and promotes a hack who should be running a pizza parlor.

        Bottom line: XO has made some very poor choices. Not only are the employees suffering from loss of morale, but the clients are suffering for lack of support. XO will never be anything better than an SMB carrier.

        This is not only my opinion, but also the general consenus of XO employees.

    • Player says:

      You sound like a really weiner who’s been handed everthing by your boys from GC. Are you saying that you think this horible comp plan is pay you enough to live on? I know you are a non-performer. Mr. LOI…you made a whole $5K on your XO stock trading…geewiz!

  • Anonymous says:

    There are a lot of great companies trading on the pink sheets for 65 cents right? XO is a joke and just needs to go away. Carl put this turd out of its misery and sell it to someone who is interested in leveraging its assets and customer base to turn a profit.

  • anon says:

    hopefully the new owner will actually enforce an Acceptable Use Policy. I just checked Spamhaus… Amazingly, notwithstanding Federal Criminal statutes prohibiting SPAM, XO remains a “Top 10” “Worst Spam Support ISP” (see link, below). XO is the largest US based ISP to have this [dis]honor. L3, VZ and other historical spam tolerants, have cleaned up. but not XO. Shame on XO for helping ruin the internet. i wonder what their financial results would look like if they terminated their 40+ spam client accounts….

    http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/networks.lasso

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to work at XO in the New York office and I know for a fact these layoffs weren’t just a result of performance. When the new CEO of their business services division came in, he immediately replaced two of the top-performing GM’s and consolidated those positions into one. He brought in his golden boy fhttp://www.telecomramblings.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-formrom Global Crossing as the new GM for the NY office.

    The new GM came in and immediately underperformed and consistently ranked between 12th to 18th in the GM’s performance based on regions, month after month. The two previous GM’s consistently ranked between 4th to 8th in the GM’s performance based on regions. Very telling.

    Again, Carl Icahn was sold a bill of goods by Dan Wagner and they are doing the same thing at XO that they did at Global Crossing – drive the company $110B into debt and bankrupt, and then flee when they sense the heat coming around the corner. These guys are nothing but crooks. Carl Icahn will end up like Bernard Ebbers as a result…

  • wants-to-know says:

    I’m curious what happened then. June 18 (the effective date of Wayne Rehberger’s resignation) came and went, and he is still listed as the COO on XO’s website.

    All you “insiders”, can you fill us in?

  • ABBEY SPANIER FILES CLASS ACTION AGAINST XO HOLDINGS, INC. says:

    ABBEY SPANIER FILES CLASS ACTION AGAINST XO HOLDINGS, INC. ON BEHALF OF SHAREHOLDERS OF SERIES A/XOHOW, SERIES B/XOHOZ AND SERIES C/XOHOL

    Abbey Spanier filed a class action in New York State Supreme Court, New York County on June 2, 2010 against Carl Icahn (“Icahn”), the controlling shareholder of XO Holdings, Inc. (formerly known as XO Communications, Inc.) (“XO”) and other members of the Company’s Board of Directors. This action is brought on behalf of all XO stockholders and holders of Series A/XOHOW, Series B/XOHOZ and Series C/XOHOL warrants (except R2 Investments, LDC (“R2”), Defendants herein and any person, firm, trust, corporation or other entity related to or affiliated with any of the Defendants or R2) and their successors in interest, arising from the deliberate course of action charted by Icahn to force the Company to enter into a preferred rights offering with Icahn to the detriment of XO when there were multiple offers from third party suitors to purchase the Company. Plaintiff alleges that Icahn has used his control of XO in order to depress the value of the Company’s stock and to deprive the Company’s minority shareholders and warrant holders of the Company’s true value permanently diluting their holdings, in order ultimately to obtain the entire Company for himself at the lowest price possible and avoid liability for wrongs committed against the Company.

    • Anonymous says:

      something that needs to be looked into: xo continues to bill customers for monthly fees + compounded interest charges for services that have formally been disconnected according to xo’s contract rules and disconnect is acknowledged by xo staff.

  • I work for tw telecom says:

    And I love them. Nice to be regarded well by the investment community. The company pushes hard but we do ok 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    So your saying your the tallest Midget?

  • Icahn's right hand man QUITS.... says:

    Does he since trouble coming for the crook Icahn or is he really pursuing “other opportunities”.

    A top executive at Carl Icahn’s eponymous holding company is set to step down after eight years working with the billionaire activist hedge fund manager.
    Keith Meister plans to resign as vice chairman and principal executive officer of Icahn Enterprises, which is controlled by Icahn’s hedge fund, Icahn Associates. The listed, New York-based firm boasts seven business lines, and Meister frequently served on the boards of directors of companies in which Icahn owns a stake. Meister also served as a senior managing director of Icahn Capital.
    Icahn said in a statement that Meister was resigning to pursue other opportunities.
    “I have enjoyed tremendously working with Carl Icahn over the past 8 years,” Meister said. “I appreciate all of the opportunities that I have had and look forward to staying in touch with him and the Icahn team.”

  • Who cares about XO??????? says:

    The company is not relevant in the industry and should just go away.

  • Reply to ICON's a crook says:

    I didn’t know canaries could write!

  • Anonymous says:

    Looks like these guys put up a nice quarter if judged by seq ebitda growth and revs.

    • anon says:

      They put up a nice 1/4 because they laid off a ton of people. The company is in a mess because of it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Those layoffs would have no effect on their 2nd quarter bottom line.

      • Anonymous says:

        If anything the layoffs made 2Q look much worse than it actually was (you take a charge when you let people go).

        Upcoming quarters should look better as savings from the layoffs kick in.

  • Juan says:

    this is very true, just got laid off with another wave of layoffs coming next week<<<<<<< miami fl

  • Juan says:

    supposedly another 619 people were getting laid off within the next week, date of layoff 10/20/11., that’s 20% of their workforce……………

  • 10/20'er says:

    I dont know the exact # for 10/20 but I was one of the – rumor has it it was at least 400 – but this is only round 1 of 4 – look for it to happen each qtr until Aug 18, 2012 – when Icahn can sell the company without having to pay the minority shrholdrs he bought out any of his profits from the sale – this company is being done just like all the others he’s made $$ from – buy em cheap – strip em and sell em for more $$$ (look at his history) – xo is primed – it’s a $$-eating boat-anchor – and that’s documented . . . not making any $$ since it’s existence . . . .

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