The lobby of IBM Watson Health in Cambridge, Mass. This is IBM's health care division.
IBM Watson Health is laying off a significant number of employees in Cleveland as part of broader staff cuts within the healthcare analytics unit.
The exact number is not known, but a former Cleveland office employee told Crain's he communicated with roughly 20 of his former coworkers on Thursday, May 24, and that most of them said they're being let go. Those former coworkers gave him estimates suggesting that dozens of local employees are being laid off, he told Crain's.
"My phone started ringing yesterday at 11:15 ... and my phone didn't stop ringing until 5:30," said the former employee, who asked not to be identified.
He noted that they received 90 days notice and are eligible for severance packages.
He added that IBM is making cuts at other Watson Health offices as well. Online commenters at TheLayoff.com and a Facebook page called Watching IBM made similar assertions.
IBM Watson Health did not immediately respond to email and voicemail messages from Crain's.
The Cleveland Watson Health unit has been planning to move from its office in downtown Cleveland to a recently constructed, 43,000-square-foot building near the Cleveland Clinic. The city of Cleveland awarded the building's developer, Hemingway Cos., a low-interest, $4.9 million federal loan through a federal program as well as a 60% property tax abatement.
IBM Watson Health had 170 local employees as of August 2016, and the city economic development department expected it to add 125 new jobs by the end of 2018, Crain's reported at the time. It unclear how many employees they have today, but the former employee who spoke with Crain's suggested that the number is in the same ballpark today. The city of Cleveland representative didn't responded to Crain's in time for this story's deadline.
The local Watson Health unit was previously know as Explorys. That company, a Cleveland Clinic spinoff, was acquired by IBM in 2015.