Coca-Cola to Cut 2,200 Jobs Amid Pandemic Pressures

Coca-Cola says it will make the job cuts through a combination of buyouts and layoffs.
Author:
Publish date:

Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report reportedly will slash 2,200 jobs worldwide, including 1,200 in the U.S., as the beverage giant responds to business shutdowns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of the Atlanta-based company were up slightly to $53.35 in trading Thursday.

Coke will make the job cuts through a combination of buyouts and layoffs, a spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.

Coca-Cola had about 86,000 employees at the start of the year and the reductions amount to roughly 12% of the company's U.S. workforce. 

The company has been cutting costs in response to the shuttering of restaurants, bars, movie theaters and sports stadiums that sell its drinks around the world.

In August, Coca-Cola offered voluntary separations to at least 4,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico as the soft drink maker repositions itself with a broader portfolio. The company didn't say how many people participated.

In October, Coca-Cola posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings due to improving at-home sales, but declined to offer full-year profit guidance amid the ongoing pandemic. 

Coke's North America business unit will be reorganized to look more like other units around the world, the Journal reported.

Until now in North America, the company's fountain-machine business, bottle-and-can business and Minute Maid operations each had their own teams for marketing, communicating with retailers and coordinating with bottlers. Those teams will be consolidated, the company said.

Coke expects the job cuts to result in annual savings of between $350 million and $550 million, the spokesman said. 

The company this year also said it would reduce its 430 master brands by about half, to 200, narrowing its beverage portfolio to products that are growing and can achieve a large scale. 

In October, Coca-Cola said that it was dropping Tab diet soda as per its plan to get rid of any underperforming products by December. Zico coconut water brands was also retired and the company also closed its Odwalla juice and smoothie business.