Comsat merges divisions


Communications Satellite Corp. said yesterday it plans to consolidate two Clarksburg-based divisions to form a new business unit, a move that will eliminate up to 300 jobs.

Washington-based Comsat said the reductions will be achieved through a combination of early retirement, attrition and layoffs. Those reductions will come almost exclusively from Comsat's Systems Division and its labs, the two Montgomery County units being consolidated.

Bruce Crockett, Comsat Corp. president and chief executive officer, said the company would attempt to keep layoffs to a minimum, but he acknowledged that the number could reach 200 or more. Comsat's total employment is about 1,600.

"RIFs [reductions in force] are the last thing we'll do," he said. "We'll do everything we can to avoid that."

Comsat's Systems Division, which handles systems integration work, is being combined with Comsat's crown jewel, Comsat Laboratories, the company's engineering arm. CSD President Joel R. Alper will retire early next year.

The new, still unnamed division will focus on emerging technologies, such as mobile services and data communications products, and perform consulting and marketing functions.

Mr. Crockett said the consolidation will give the parent company greater economies of scale and end duplication of some administrative functions.

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