AstraZeneca to shuffle off U.K. finance jobs as part of $1.1B cost-cutting scheme

AstraZeneca plans to move some finance jobs from Alderley Park to its new Cambridge headquarters, pictured from above.

Intent on cutting $1.1 billion in annual costs, AstraZeneca will move some finance jobs out of the U.K. to centralized facilities in Malaysia, Costa Rica and Poland as part of a global consolidation plan.

The shift of work to “newly created regional centres” focused on back-office work comes as AstraZeneca faces payer pressure and hits to its overall profitability. The new moves will downsize a finance division in Alderley Park, England, with jobs allocated to the regional centers or to AstraZeneca's new headquarters in Cambridge, a spokesperson said via email.

The number of Alderley Park employees affected will be unclear until after “employees have taken their own decisions,” AZ said. The Guardian reports that about 280 people work at the Alderley Park finance operation.

“Employees globally have been briefed on these changes and individual employee consultations will now begin for impacted individuals,” an AZ spokesperson said in a statement. “Naturally these discussions will remain confidential.”

Back in April, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the company would work to “streamline” its operations to save $1.1 billion in annual costs. Part of that is an effort to “reshape” the company’s manufacturing network as it looks to bolster its capacity in biologics and slim down elsewhere.

AstraZeneca reported a core operating profit decrease of 12% in the first quarter this year, following that up with a 22% slide in in the second quarter and a 12% decline in the third quarter. A large portion of the company’s struggles are in respiratory and diabetes, where it’s been hit by payer pressure as those groups look to put a lid on drug prices.

But the British drugmaker is far from alone in needing to cut costs, and it's not the first Big Pharma to shuffle support staff in the process. Back in 2014, Novartis embarked on a global staffing review with the aim to cut or relocate 4,000 jobs. Many of those positions went to a new 8,000-person office in Hyderabad, India, where labor costs are lower.