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Geneva hopes to escape worst of cuts at Procter and Gamble

Procter and Gamble's says its commitment to its Geneva Business Center remains strong Keystone

The American consumer goods giant, Procter and Gamble, has announced major cuts in its global workforce, but the impact on its European headquarters in Geneva is still not clear.

“It’s too early to know the detailed implications for Geneva,” the company’s Geneva office said in a statement. However, it made clear that this “global restructuring programme in no way reduces our commitment to the Geneva Business Centre”.

P&G announced that it would reduce staffing by 9,600 jobs worldwide, or nine per cent of its workforce. Around 60 per cent of these job losses will be outside the United States.

These cuts are in addition to the 7,800 positions the company is currently in the process of shedding as a result of a restructuring plan announced in 1999. Analysts say this earlier restructuring had not produced the expected savings

The company, which produces well-known brands such as Tide, Ariel, Pampers and Oil of Olay, hopes to save between $600 and 700 million a year as a result of the latest move.

The 1,400 employees in Geneva, around 900 of whom have only recently moved to the city, will be hoping that its status as the firm’s European headquarters will spare it the worst of the cuts. Canton Geneva offered the company a number of inducements last year to ensure the company relocated to the city.

In its statement, the Geneva Business Centre confirmed that it remained part of P&G’s long-term strategy and would “continue to play a pivotal role in strengthening our competitiveness in Europe”.

However, it cautioned that “we are part of P&G and we shall play our role in the total company-wide effort to improve our competitiveness and revitalization of our long-term growth”.

It said that it would take a couple of months for each business unit located within the Geneva Business Centre to finalise the plans.

It will also take some time before it is known whether P&G’s 50 employees in Zurich will be affected by the cuts.

by Roy Probert

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR