Cisco to lay off 6,500 employees to cut costs

By the Associated Press | July 18, 2011 | 4:59 PM EDT

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Networking equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. is laying off 6,500 employees — about 9 percent of its work force — as it follows up on a plan announced in May to eliminate thousands of jobs in an effort to cut costs and raise profits.

Cisco said Monday that the employees it is letting go include 2,100 who chose to take part in an early-retirement program. The company said it will cut 15 percent of its employees at and above the level of vice president.

The company will offer severance pay and assistance finding new employment to those laid off.

Cisco will inform employees who have been cut in the U.S., Canada and some other countries during the first week of August.