AstraZeneca was the topic of conversation this week as word broke that the company is offering buyout deals to every member of its 5,500 US sales force.
“AstraZeneca is making changes to our sales force, which will be managed first by looking at vacancies and offering field sales employees the opportunity to self-identify whether they are interested in leaving the company,” a company spokesperson stated in an email. “We will know the full scope of the changes in the coming weeks.”
The strategy is similar to the move made earlier this year by US automakers to reduce their work force. However, it seems that AZ is looking to thin its ranks to compensate for loss of patent exclusivity rather than find more affordable help. The question is: What happens if the buyout quota isn’t met? Currently, only AZ executives know—and they aren’t talking.
Meanwhile, local press in Indiana is reporting that Bristol-Myers Squibb filed paperwork stating it will close its Evansville, IL, plant and lay off 113 employees at that location and one other facility. The Courier Press of Evansville wrote that job losses would include 57 production operators in Evansville and 14 team leaders in both Evansville and Mount Vernon.
Pfizer is also being tight lipped about pending layoffs, but did reveal changes it’s making to existing facilities. According to a letter sent to employees, the company intends to keep its New York headquarters intact, while its Madison location will become the leadership center for the diversified businesses, animal health, consumer healthcare, and a few other units. Pfizer plans to close its Bridgewater, NJ, facility and Wyeth’s Great Valley, PA, campus by mid-2010. The Morris Plains, NJ, facility is still under review, and Wyeth’s Collegeville, PA, location will serve as the leadership center for the new specialty care business unit.
“It’s important for all colleagues to note that the location of a leadership center for a particular business unit does not require all colleagues working in that business to be located at the same facility,” Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio stated in the letter. “Rather, over the course of the next several weeks, each business will be determining the best location for each colleague, and managers will soon begin having individual conversations with colleagues impacted by these decisions.”