Hibu Cuts Jobs Across Company, Including Cedar Rapids

By Chelsea Keenan, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Reading, England-based Hibu, which has an office in Cedar Rapids, is cutting employees companywide.

Hibu, formerly known as Yellow Book, would not reveal specifics on the number of jobs to be eliminated at the Cedar Rapids location or total reduction numbers. Calls made to the Cedar Rapids office were not immediately returned.

The directories and digital marketing provider has offices in the UK, United States, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Peru, and has operations in India and the Philippines.

The company, which began transitioning to a new group holding company held privately by lenders last year, announced a change in leadership in March, naming a new chairman and CEO.

Hibu spokesman Andrew Spybey said by telephone from Reading that the company has seen a decline in its printed directories' revenue, which has resulted in cuts to its work force as well as the cancellation of certain business initiatives.

According to Bloomberg News, Hibu's earnings for the six months to September 2013 totaled 107 million pounds (approximately $177.78), which was 45 million pounds lower than the same period the previous year, and less than half the 231 million-pound figure the year before.

"Regrettably, as part of this process we anticipate a reduction in our overall work force, focused primarily in non-sales functions across our geographic operations," the company said in a statement.

"Consultation and actions in this regard have commenced today. No further details are being announced at this time."

However, as recently as July 2013, Kevin Jasper, president of Hibu U.S. based in Cedar Rapids, said in an email that the company planned to expand and could add as many as 100 positions.

"Today we have a team of nearly 1,000 people based out of our Cedar Rapids office in roles covering sales, customer service, website content writing, marketing, IT, accounting, human resources and various product fulfillment positions," Jasper wrote.

"To further support our digital transformation, we have near-term plans to fill a range of key additional positions, clearly indicating the importance of Cedar Rapids to our future development.
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