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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

SAIC founder expresses disappointment over split decision


I’ve been keeping an eye on Robert Beysters’s blog for his views on the Science Applications International Corp.’s decision to split.

Although it has been eight years since Beyster retired as chairman of Science Applications International Corp., the company he founded in 1969, I still think of it as his company in many ways.

Nor does SAIC shy away from keeping a connection to Beyster, with his profile and a company history prominently displayed in the About section of the company web site.  (It’s an example of honoring your roots that I think other companies should follow.)

Yesterday, he posted his thoughts, and he gives in them a quick, clear-eyed analysis of the pressure the company is under to improve the bottom line, but he doesn’t mince words that he disagrees with the decision.

“It’s a good thing I’m not in the company, because I would be strongly opposed to splitting SAIC in two,” he wrote.

His reasons are very much in keeping with the kind of company that he built over the course of 35 years. He likes the size and diversity of talent, which he called the company’s “great strength.” He feels that there has always been synergy among the various groups and sectors in SAIC.

“Splitting the company will reduce SAIC’s ability to draw from its deep bench of talent and experience. SAIC works very well as an integrated company,” he wrote.

He also acknowledges that the company isn’t the same one he ran. Since his retirement, SAIC has switched from the employee-ownership model, one that Beyster is still a champion of, to being a publicly traded company.

He also knows that the government market has changed significantly.

There is no crankiness or bitterness in what Beyster writes. “Lord knows what the split will do to the share price over the long term, whether it creates more value or less.”

Beyster is still an SAIC shareholder and says he’ll be watching closely. “I wish both of the new companies good luck.”


Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 05, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Reader Comments

Sat, Dec 27, 2014 joel bengston La Jolla, CA

At this time,a few days after his death, it looks as if Dr. Bob was 100% correct in opposing the splitting of SAIC in two pieces, one of which is slowly sinking!

Thu, Jun 12, 2014

I was a senior Scientist with the company, and really enjoyed working there. Then they made the change to try and make the stock price go up like a rocket by doing an IPO, becoming a systems integrator, and getting rid of their talent (scientists). That is like Coca Cola stopping sales of soft beverages. And they did this and I have seen things do nothing but go downhill ever since.

Thu, Jan 24, 2013 Ex2Be South

It's amazing how companies can be so blind. They really fail to calculate what they lose in employee productivity and loyalty compared to what they think they gain from screwing employees - i.e. the new health care benefit package. I used to take pride in my work and did what I had to do to be an asset. Since they did this change in the health care benefit package, I am no longer vested with them and could care less about neither their future nor their success. I now am going to do just what I have to do to get paid and no more. Actually someone suggested that this change in healthcare is nothing more than an Anti ObamaCare campaign and that top corporate probably reasoned that the people most negatively impacted by the new healthcare program are most likely the ones who voted for the President's 2nd term. Actually it wouldn’t surprise me if this had some substance. All I know is there is no way to describe this change but as unfair and totally unmerited. Other companies not nearly as big as SAIC was able to offer its employees a decent Healthcare Benefit package and no way can you convince me that SAIC couldn’t have done the same! They could have at least allowed for a gradual change to this, giving the workforce time to adjust. Suddenly dropping this on employees like they did was just unfair and on top of that, having the gall to call this a good plan that was designed with the best interests of the employees in mine is just a blatant lie! The nerve! One thing for use, I may have a crappy health care benefit package but I can assure of one thing - What they gain from me with this crappy plan, they will surely lose many times over in my lack of commitment and loyalty to them. They may not be able to do the math now but the numbers will soon start to show for themselves.

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 Sally

My husband works for SAIC and has for over 16 years. He was so very proud to work for this employee owned company and talked about how great a company it was.
But things have been changing at SAIC and not for the better where the employee is concerned.
Ever since SAIC went public things have really changed fast. I think my husband feels like a small piece of sand in a very large desert. Unseen, unappreciated, the way almost everyone he knows at SAIC feels. The company has chipped away at their employee’s benefits until they the are few and far between. Now their health insurance is changing. Instead of really good insurance at a decent price employees are going to have to pay more for far less coverage.
They (SAIC)have the gall to post a video on the SAIC healthcare website saying how much they appreciate their employees and what a wonderful thing this new health care plan is. My husband can't stand to watch it as the COO explains great it is. I Stu Shea doesn’t have SAIC standard company plan for his insurance!
The SAIC Healthcare Plan Website. http://www.saichealthyfocus.com/default.aspx

Thu, Sep 6, 2012 CHuck Viator Washington DC MSA

Nick - Here is a thought; the obvious answer is often the correct answer. That is to say, we have watched a lot of companies split / sell off / divest themselves of work and business units/groups that create potential OCI issues. I a world that lives by the credo that "if there is a preception of" then it is easier to make the safe call; it makes sense that companies that do a mix of non-SETA work and SETA divest those work types so they don't impede their ability to compete successfully in either work type - SETA and Non-SETA. The divesture in reality may be nothing more than that. I suggest the cross fertilization that Dr. Byster referres to is part of what the OCI oversight staff look for.

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