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Brown-Forman to axe 250 jobs worldwide

Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort, is to axe 250 jobs in preparation for “uncertain and challenging” times ahead. 

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company announced the cuts alongside other measures designed to save it up to $25 million a year.

The vast majority of the cuts are expected to come in the US and Mexico, with some positions in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region also under threat. The job cuts are most likely to affect executives, support staff and hourly workers.

The company will also offer early retirement to certain eligible U.S. employees as well as eliminating merit increases for all workers and cutting back on discretionary spending, including travel and meetings.

Brown-Forman spokesman Phil Lynch also said that bonus targets for executives will be reduced in the coming year.

Paul Varga, chief executive, admitted the decision to make the cuts was “very difficult”, but added they were “necessary to best position Brown-Forman for both the difficult times we are confronting today and the uncertain and challenging environment that we expect ahead of us.”

Any employees that lose their jobs will be offered severance pay, counselling and other services to help minimise the blow.

Lynch refused to rule out the possibility of further cuts in the future, saying: “You never say never, because one doesn’t know what the economy is going to do, but we believe that we’ve taken the action now to have the company be in the right size and the right position to continue to grow in fiscal 2010.”

Alan Lodge, 21.04.2009

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