Connecticut company refutes report of 1,000 layoffs, declines to say how many job losses

New Britain-headquartered toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker’s revenues increased 20 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

New Britain-headquartered toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker’s revenues increased 20 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

Danny Johnston / AP

A Stanley Black & Decker spokesperson on Tuesday described a Wall Street Journal report as "inaccurate," stating that the company is cutting 1,000 finance jobs across its operations — but declined to provide information on how many job cuts were included in an initial round the company's CEO said last month would be largely complete by the first week of October.

Stanley Black & Decker has its headquarters in New Britain, along with corporate office in Towson, Md. In July, the Baltimore Business Journal reported the company had scotched plans to use a large office in White Marsh, Md. 

Under new CEO Donald Allan Jr., Stanley Black & Decker is overhauling its corporate structure to push more tasks to subsidiaries that sell its brands, to include its namesake Stanley and Black+Decker products as well as DeWalt, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt and Craftsman among others.

The Wall Street Journal based its reporting on information from multiple current or former employees, without identifying them by name. On Tuesday, Stanley Black & Decker spokesperson Debora Raymond declined comment on any possible job actions in Connecticut or globally, but said the report's jobs figure was incorrect. The effect of any layoffs in Connecticut remains unclear.

Under state law, companies must notify the Connecticut Department of Labor 60 days in advance of mass layoffs that affect at least 50 workers, if as part of a facility closing or cuts otherwise impacting at least a third of the employees at that site. Employers are spared filing a WARN report in instances for which job cuts boomerang from an immediate, adverse business development, such as loss of a major contract.

Maryland tightened a similar law last year, requiring companies to report layoffs affecting 15 or more employees, with a $10,000 penalty for each day a company is not in compliance but allowing for leeway from the 60-day requirement if the company can provide a reason.

In July, Allan told investment analysts of Stanley Black & Decker's plan to shave $200 million in costs from its corporate overhead, along with billions of dollars more in other savings. Allan elaborated on his plans last month during an investment conference sponsored by Morgan Stanley, saying "the vast majority" of restructuring would be completed by the first week of October.

"We are streamlining our corporate headquarters to be much closer to our business and running the day-to-day operations of our business," Allan said in September. "We have 12 spans in our organization structure, from 'C' suite to point of impact. The typical company our size has seven to eight — world class has five — so the first step is to get down to seven or eight.

"We've also looked at some of the midterm, long-term initiatives that were in place under the corporate umbrella and decided to either defer them or reduce them in some way, shape or form," Allan added. "It's difficult because you're affecting people's jobs, but the actual decision-making process wasn't that complicated and was done in about 45 days."

Any Stanley Black & Decker alumni are hitting one of the best job markets in years, with companies continuing to hire for corporate finance roles in Connecticut and New York despite fears of a recession after a series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Stanley Black & Decker continues to list a few open financial jobs in New Britain on its website, in tax and auditing roles, among about 550 openings across all its U.S. operations.

Allan said in September that Stanley Black & Decker has seen spending soften by consumers, but that businesses continue to purchase equipment.

"September is always a big, big month because you're feeding in all the product to our customers for the upcoming holiday season — so is October," Allan said. "There's a lot of shipping and activity that needs to happen in September., but so far it's tracking with expectations."

He said next year's housing market remains a wild card, with Stanley Black & Decker having seen sales for outdoor power equipment and tools boom during the early migration out of the cities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allan envisions cutting as much as 30 percent of Stanley Black & Decker's facility space over the coming three years — a chunk equating to more than 8.5 million square feet of its total space entering this year prior to selling a security products division to Securitas. The company is experimenting with automating some processes through a "Manufacturing 4.0" initiative, with the goal of reducing labor overhead.

Allan said some of the savings will be plowed back into product development, including for electric mowers and other equipment as they gain traction on those powered by gasoline engines. And Allan said Stanley Black & Decker is working to source parts closer to where they are needed for manufacturing in the United States and Europe, after the prolonged disruption to shipments from Asia. That could indirectly boost hiring in its U.S. supplier base.

Allan inherited the top job from Jim Loree, who led Stanley Black & Decker from 2016 to this past summer. A University of Hartford graduate, Allan's tenure with Stanley dates back to 1999, before that working for adhesives manufacturer Loctite and for financial auditor Ernst & Young.

Allan received a bump in pay last year after assuming the role of corporate president in addition to his CFO duties, making $5.5 million that year in estimated compensation. Stanley Black & Decker estimated Loree's compensation that year at just over $13 million, down a second straight year from the nearly $19 million in estimated compensation for Loree in 2019.; @casoulman