Company Rumored To Be Buying IBM Hires Former Big Blue Plant Executive

Jul 10, 2014

The company rumored to be on the verge of buying IBM’s chip manufacturing business announced Thursday that it has hired a former senior plant executive at an IBM facility in East Fishkill, New York.

Announcement of the new hire by the New York-based GlobalFoundries comes as officials across Vermont await word on the future of IBM’s chip manufacturing facility in Essex Junction. Financial news outlets began reporting months ago that GlobalFoundries is poised to finalize a deal to purchase IBM’s semiconductor wafer business. The Albany Business Review, citing officials at a union that represents many IBM workers, reported that an announcement is expected to come as soon as this week.

But what the sale of IBM would mean for the approximately 4,000 workers at the Essex Junction plant remains unclear. GlobalFoundries began construction on an $8.5 billion manufacturing facility in Saratoga County, New York, in 2009. The so-called “Fab 8” campus now employs about 2,200 workers, according to a GlobalFoundries press release, and the company expects to have another 600 workers at the site before the end of the year.

A worst-case scenario for Vermont involves the sale of IBM, and the transfer of its chip-making operations to the Fab 8 campus. The executive hired by GlobalFoundries formerly worked as “senior location executive” for an IBM plant in East Fishkill, a plant that's part of the technology division that includes IBM in Essex Junction.

The executive, Henry DiMarco, will “have responsibility for all Fab 8 site construction and infrastructure strategy and execution as well as facilities projects and operations,” according to the release.

It’s the latest in spate of business moves involving GlobalFoundries and former or current IBM workers.

According to a story in the Albany Business Review Tuesday, Globalfoundries “recently entered into contract services with IBM through the end of March 2015,” to bring in “200 to 250 experienced semiconductor industry engineers and managers to help the facilities” as GlobalFoundries prepares for what it’s calling a “period of growth.”

IBM workers quoted by the business journal said the “loan and employee program” is unprecedented, and that workers view the arrangement as a “precursor” to IBM’s sale of the plants to GlobalFoundries.