Nestlé to cut 500 jobs in biggest Swiss restructuring plan

GENEVANestlé SA plans to cut as many as 500 computer-service jobs in its home market of Switzerland as CEO Mark Schneider aims to boost profitability at the world’s largest food company.

Nestlé is shifting information technology jobs to locations including a tech hub in Spain, the company said yesterday. Its Nespresso coffee unit is also moving jobs to Spain and Portugal and will offer positions to 80 employees affected by that reorganisation. The unit will open a site in Italy to work on developing boutiques.

Schneider is starting Nestlé’s biggest restructuring programme in Switzerland, reducing staff there by 5% after having faced pressure from investors such as Dan Loeb to cut costs. The strength of the Swiss franc in recent years has ramped up the

company’s expenses. CFO Francois-Xavier Roger has accelerated Nestlé’s five-year restructuring plan and has predicted 700 million francs (RM2.82 billion) of reorganisation costs this year.

“Nestlé remains fully committed to its home base,” Peter Vogt, head of human resources, said in a statement. The company said it’s investing €300 million (RM1.5 billion) in the country this year. “The relationship between Nestlé and Switzerland is mutually beneficial.”

The stock traded 0.4% lower at 10:53am in Zurich yesterday, having dropped 7.3% in the past year.

In recent weeks, Nespresso workers in Lausanne, Switzerland, have protested against a plan to add more weekend shifts and lengthen workweeks to 43 hours from 41 at its capsule factories.

Nestlé said it plans to make the cuts over the coming 18 months. The company will offer employees training and help to switch to other positions and accept voluntary departures.

The company had 323,000 employees worldwide in 2017, ranking sixth among European employers. Nestlé’s Swiss staff has swelled to more than 10,000 last year from about 6,700 in 2003. — Bloomberg