Accenture, a global outsourcing firm that entered Bangladesh in 2013 by acquiring 51 percent of Grameenphone's GPIT, will wind up its operations in the country and lay off all 556 of its employees from November.
The development is a setback to Bangladesh's aspirations of establishing itself as an IT/ITES hub in a similar vein of neighbouring India.
All the employees received an e-mail from the chief operating officer informing them of termination of their contracts, said Shahin Ahmed, general secretary of Accenture Employees Union, Bangladesh, yesterday.
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Although Accenture has not officially announced its intent to leave Bangladesh, local employees have confirmed it to The Daily Star. Raihan Shamsi, chief executive officer of Accenture Communications Infrastructure Solutions Limited (ACISL), and Purushothama Kadambu, its chief operating officer, held a town hall briefing on Monday to inform the employees of the closure.
“Both Accenture and Telenor Group have taken a look at how best to serve the evolving needs of the business. As a result, the services currently provided by ACISL will be transitioned to both in-house and other service providers,” the two said in an email to employees after the briefing.
Accenture will serve its clients in Bangladesh from its Indian operation, according to ACISL employees.
A big chunk of ACISL's business came from Grameenphone, and the mobile operator this year decided to award the contract by floating an open tender instead. Indian software giant Wipro won the contract.
It was mentioned in the email that some of the ACISL employees may have the opportunity to be offered jobs with Wipro.
The employees will get their salaries and allowances until November even if on a paid leave of absence. The severance payment will also be unaffected by any paid leave.
And as a gesture of goodwill, the employees were paid a loyalty bonus equivalent to one month's base pay on Monday. Additionally, at the end of every month from August until November a service continuity bonus of an extra half month's base pay will be awarded.
However, Ahmed said they are yet to be informed of their severance package.
“We have attended several meetings in the last two days but the management did not make it clear,” he added.
GPIT was launched in January 28, 2011 to much fanfare by Grameenphone as an IT service provider.
It had plans to provide end-to-end solutions to banks, financial institutions, fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and telecom companies, but company insiders said it did not gain much traction.
Headquartered in Dublin, Accenture has operations in 120 countries, as of 2016.