Lumen Layoffs Impact Almost 7% of Workforce

Lumen is "reshaping and right-sizing" its business through automation and AI.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 22, 2024

3 Min Read
lumen layoffs

Lumen Technologies is parting ways with more than 1,000 staffers as it continues its right-sizing and improving its debt position.

Rumors of Lumen layoffs surfaced Monday morning, and the tech and telecom services giant confirmed the news.

"Lumen is transforming itself and that often includes difficult changes. We are taking steps to reshape and right-size our business through automation and AI, aligning our resources to our new service delivery models and growth-oriented priorities," a Lumen spokesperson wrote in an email to Channel Futures.

Lumen will shed "just under 7%" of its workforce. It confirmed forum reports that the majority of those cuts, which have occurred in "select parts of the company," are voluntary.

"We continue to hire in other parts of our company to drive our transformation and help our customers connect to the digital world," the statement read. "We are grateful for the contributions of all our employees, including those leaving Lumen."

Lumen in its latest annual report said it employees 28,000 people — 7% would be 1,960. Multiple forum posts from people claiming to be Lumen employees numbered the involuntary layoffs at 660.

Above: Channel Futures TV's Craig Galbraith talks with Lumen's Sara Seegers at the 2024 Channel Partners Conference & Expo.

Related:Recent Tech Layoffs: 2024 Q1 Tracker

The reductions occur amid an ongoing effort by Lumen under CEO Kate Johnson to modernize the company and improve free cash flow. The company last fall announced a restructuring plan that impacted 4% of the workforce. At the same time, Lumen entered a debt-restructuring agreement with creditors that accounted for about $7 billion in debt.

That transaction support agreement expanded to include more creditors and closed in March. Lumen shared that its has reduced its 2025-2026 debt maturities from $2.1 billion to $600 million.


"This is a significant milestone that clears the runway for our transformation and signals confidence in our strategy and progress," Johnson said at the time. "The transaction provides the time and capital to fuel our return to growth."

Lumen's sale of content delivery network service contracts and its EMEA business have helped reduce the debt.

Lumen Layoffs: A Partner Perspective

Lumen represents one of the oldest and largest vendors that sells through the technology advisor (agent) channel, bringing together brands of legacy companies Qwest, Level 3 and CenturyLink.

Agents have been watching with bated breath in recent years as Lumen seeks to amend its debt position. Previous chapter 11 bankruptcies of telecom carriers – and more recently data center colocation providers – have enabled vendors to trim the rolls of residual commissions they pay to partners who have sold their services.

And for Matthew Toth, founder of Michigan-based C3 Technology Advisors, bankruptcies have also negatively impacted customer experience.


"The financial health of our vendors is absolutely a consideration for the channel," Toth told Channel Futures. "Followed to its logical conclusion, financial difficulties are followed by restructuring, layoffs and ultimately, bankruptcy. All of these have impacts on our suppliers’ ability to deliver their products consistently."

Shane McNamara is executive vice president of engineering and operations for Avant, one of Lumen's technology services distributor partners. McNamara expressed said he is seeing good signs coming out of Lumen.

"We've met with the Lumen chief financial officer and their executive team on several occasions this year and last year, and we are encouraged by what we’ve been hearing and seeing from them in terms of their strategic direction," McNamara told Channel Futures. "It is clear to us that the channel is a core part of Lumen’s go-to-market strategy."

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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