By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Global technology and consulting firm Computer Sciences Corp. is relocating its headquarters to Falls Church from El Segundo, Calif., making it one of the largest companies based in the Washington area.
The move, which may bring as many as a couple of hundred employees to the area, caps a consolidation of CSC management in the region. The company already has 11,000 workers in the area, and chief executive Michael W. Laphen has long lived here.
CSC has 90,000 employees worldwide and an aggressive outsourcing business with clients as varied as NASA, Sun Microsystems and an Indian financial group. The company's large footprint in the area is a reflection of the work it does for the government, which accounted for $6 billion of the company's $15.5 billion in sales last year.
Company officials portrayed the relocation as part of a broader change in strategy. CSC has experienced little overall growth in recent years as the market for the very large, complex technology projects in which it specialized has slowed and the company has faced increased competition from abroad.
Now the company is working to rebrand itself as a more nimble consultancy that can work with smaller projects. It said the move to Washington is an important logistical step, merging its executive headquarters with its operational one.
"Any number of executives who happen to be in the building can meet with customers for short impromptu sessions," said David Booth, president of global sales and marketing. "It certainly speeds the engagement of the executive team."
Booth also praised the region's amenities.
"It's got a great skilled workforce. The education system is absolutely outstanding, and the proximity to travel is outstanding," he said.
But, he said, "in any environment there may be a trade-off, and it seems like traffic might be one."
Last month CSC filed an earnings report that corrected income tax calculations and the impact of foreign exchange rates on the company's financials. In 2006, CSC said it would consider a sale of the company, and it cut 5,000 jobs, mostly in Europe. CSC's stock price has never recovered the highs reached during the Internet bubble. Its shares have been relatively flat for several years.
The transition of roughly 200 people based in the Los Angeles area, where the company was founded in 1959, should be complete by this summer. Those employees will move to the Falls Church offices; some will remain in El Segundo.
The move reinforces the area's image as a major hub of knowledge workers. CSC joins a group of the country's largest technology consulting firms that are based in the region or maintain a sizable presence here, including Booz Allen Hamilton and Science Applications International Corp., both in McLean.
Those firms focus mainly on government work, while CSC has a more extensive commercial background.