On 23 November 2020, French food group Danone announced that it will cut about between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs worldwide. The dismissals will affect mainly administrative and management positions. So far, the company has announced a dismissal programme in France, where it will cut up to one in four workers. In Spain and Portugal, Danone is to cut 160 positions.
The restructuring programme is primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the company revealed that its sales in the third quarter of 2020 fell 9.3% year-on-year to €5.82 billion.
The reorganisation includes, among others, a €1 billion savings plan, the reduction of 1,500 to 2,000 office staff (for a saving of €700 million by 2023) and a research plan for new sources of industrial productivity. A proportion of the savings will be used to finance new growth opportunities. The plan's goal is also to see the operating margin recover to 15% from 2022.
The CEO of the group explained that the plan has become imperative with COVID-19, which has modified and accelerated the food revolution, and that the goal is to give back the priority to local production.
Danone, the world's largest yogurt maker, sells its products in 120 markets. Currently, the group employs about 100,000 people worldwide.
Updated, 09/09/2021: After negotiations with employees’ representatives in France, Danone announced that it will cut about 1,600 jobs worldwide and 300 in France – instead of the 458 planned – of which between 10% and 15% will be forced departures. Agreements were also signed in other affected countries. The cuts will affect mainly management, assistant and sales positions.