Bayer to cut 4,500 jobs in global overhaul

It's another big shift to emerging markets for Big Pharma. Bayer plans to spend €1 billion on a restructuring plan that will cut 4,500 jobs--but create 2,500 new ones, largely in up-and-coming countries. The company expects to reap €800 million in annual cost savings from the plan beginning in 2013.

The overhaul offers one answer to questions about what Bayer's new CEO, Marijn Dekkers (photo), would do now that he's in charge. As the company points out in its statement about the revamp plan, Bayer faces the same challenges that beset the rest of the drugmaking world: generic competition, increasingly costly R&D, and pricing pressures from cash-strapped governments. "To finance the expansion of our growth activities," Dekkers says in the statement, "we therefore need to redirect resources, improve efficiencies and cut costs."

Here's the story on the layoffs themselves. Bayer plans to cut 2,000 people from its global workforce, currently at 108,700. About 4,500 jobs will be eliminated--including 1,700 in Bayer's home country, Germany--by 2012. Over the same time frame, the company plans to create 2,500 new jobs, partly to help fuel expansion into Asia.

The job moves sound a lot like Eli Lilly's; the U.S.-based drugmaker last year announced plans to reduce its workforce by 5,500 while it doubles its roster in China to 2,000 and hires in other emerging markets and Japan, too. And Roche, which this week announced plans to cut 4,800 jobs and shuffle another 1,500, is planning to grow its Chinese work force by 25 percent this year alone, which means about 750 new jobs.

- check out the Bayer release
- see the Reuters story
- get more from the Wall Street Journal