GENEVA, Switzerland: Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis has said, as part of its previously announced restructuring program, that it could cut up to 8,000 jobs, or 7.4 percent of its global workforce, including up to 1,400 positions in Switzerland.
Previously announced by Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan to be in the "single digit thousands," the job cuts are part of a restructuring program aimed at saving at least $1 billion by 2024.
In an emailed statement, which confirmed an earlier report by Swiss newspaper TagesAnzeiger, Novartis said it is making progress in integrating its pharmaceuticals and oncology business units, and will eliminate roles across the organization.
"This restructuring could potentially impact 1,400 positions based in Switzerland, out of around 8,000 positions impacted globally," Novartis said, adding that it currently employs 108,000 staff globally, including 11,600 in Switzerland.
The cost cuts would mostly involve removing overlapping departments, as it will no longer run its oncology and non-oncology pharmaceuticals businesses separately, Novartis said, noting that the new structure would be put in place over the coming months.
The Swiss drug company is receiving very large cash windfalls, including $20.7 billion last year from the sale of its 33 percent stake in Roche back to its Swiss rival, and from a possible sale of its Sandoz unit, a maker of inexpensive generic drugs.
Novartis has said it would complete its review of Sandoz by the end of the year, adding that despite plans to buy back up to $15 billion worth of shares, it would retain enough spending power to purchase companies and technologies to boost its growth.