GTSI cut HR VP as part of broader downsizing effort

The firing of Bridget Atkinson was not based on performance but part of a restructuring that also eliminated 42 positions, GTSI CEO says.

GTSI’s announced termination Monday of Bridget Atkinson, vice president of human resources, was part of an overall company downsizing, CEO Sterling Phillips told Washington Technology today when he took issue with some of the wording in the story.

“You used a lot of the language from our 8-K filing in the article,” Phillips said. “My issue very simply was the feeling that the headline and the focus on Bridget made it look as if we fired her because of her [actions], which was not the case.”

He said he was concerned that the wording could “somehow cast a negative shadow on her” when she seeks new employment.

Phillips called Atkinson’s termination “part of a broader corporate downsizing” last week which eliminated 42 positions.

As a public company, GTSI is required to report senior executive personnel changes to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Form 8-K filing does not require lower level changes.

GTSI also did not issue a news release on the overall downsizing.

As a member of the senior management team, Atkinson took part in the downsizing discussions and recommendations, Phillips said. “Hers included downsizing of the HR function including elimination of her position.”

Citing GTSI’s disappointing third-quarter revenue numbers, which were down on a year-over-year basis, he said, “What we’ve been forced to do is scale back the operational side of the business. This does not affect the sales and marketing function, which we are, in fact, growing.”

“We had no impact on the sales function. We had some modest restructuring of some of the marketing support and sales support roles. And the majority of the reductions were in the operations, finance and HR functions,” Phillips said, “including a handful of positions in the accounting department.”

“We reorganized at the same time that we downsized to try to make the business more efficient,” he said.

GTSI, of Herndon, Va., ranks No. 68 on Washington Technology’s 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.