Working through CEO swap, Pfizer plots job cuts in drive for 'simpler' structure

Pfizer sign
Pfizer is trimming its workforce through voluntary retirements and layoffs, according to CNBC. (Tracy Staton)

A week after Pfizer unveiled a reshuffled executive team that'll report to incoming CEO Albert Bourla, the company said it's restructuring to simplify management and boost efficiency. And this latest move means job cuts—some 2% of Pfizer's global workforce of 90,200.

Pfizer plans to trim its workforce through voluntary retirements and layoffs, CNBC reported, and a company spokeswoman said the revamp is designed to create "a simpler, more efficient structure."

Billed as a move to prime the company for growth, that restructuring "will affect some managerial roles and responsibilities.” She added that the company is “offering enhancements to certain benefits to lessen this effect,” and that “only a couple percentage points of our global colleagues” will be affected. Pfizer employed about 90,200 workers at the end of 2017, according to an SEC filing, so a 2% reduction would represent about 1,800 jobs.

“This is about creating a simpler, more efficient structure and not achieving cost savings,” she added. 

The drugmaker disclosed the early retirement program to employees Tuesday, CNBC reported. After the voluntary retirements are worked out, the company can decide on “involuntary separations,” the network said, citing materials distributed to employees. 

RELATED: CEO Ian Read hands the reins of a slimmer, sleeker Pfizer to COO Albert Bourla 

Employees can opt in to the retirement program by Nov. 2 and, if they do, must leave by Dec. 31 unless asked to stay longer, according to CNBC.

The news follows Pfizer’s announcement at the start of this month that Albert Bourla will take the reins from Ian Read starting Jan. 1. Since then, Pfizer announced Bourla’s executive team, featuring many familiar faces, and hired Quest Diagnostics’ chief information officer Lidia Fonseca as its first chief digital officer. 

The job cuts also come ahead of an anticipated U.S. patent loss for Pfizer’s big-selling Lyrica to treat nerve and muscle pain. The drug pulled in $3.46 billion in the U.S. last year.

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