Bayer CEO Dekkers comes under fire over ‘ruthless’ job cuts

19 November 2010 19:34  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers drew sharp criticisms on Friday from unions, works council and German media over plans to cut some 4,500 positions at the international chemicals, plastics and pharmaceuticals major.

Dekkers, who last month took over as CEO, on Thursday announced that Bayer would eliminate about 4,500 positions - including 1,700 in Germany – while creating 2,500 new jobs, mostly in emerging markets.

Union and works council officials said the jobs cuts in Germany were difficult to understand, given that the country’s economy was recovering and Bayer had reported strong third-quarter results.

German newspaper Rheinische Post called Dekkers' plan “eiskalt” (ruthless), but not unexpected.

In a commentary, the paper said Bayer’s staff had feared such measures since last year when Bayer announced that Dekkers was joining the company from US laboratory equipment manufacturer Thermo Fisher to succeed Werner Wenning as CEO.

Moreover, Thursday’s announcement was likely only the beginning of more widespread cutbacks at Bayer as the company’s commitment from 2009 to avoid job cuts in Germany was expiring in 2012, the paper said.

Also, Dekkers would likely push for an early sale of Bayer MaterialScience, the paper added. Wenning, for his part, earlier this year had dismissed suggestions that the MaterialScience business may be sold.

In a separate article, the Rheinische Post, citing unnamed company sources, said that Bayer’s cuts in Germany would affect 400 positions in research and development, 400 positions in information technology, and 900 positions in administration.

A Bayer spokesman would not comment on those numbers.

In related news, Swiss pharmaceuticals major Roche said this week it planned to cut 4,800 jobs, with most of the cuts to affect the company’s US business.

For more on Bayer and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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