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Wed 8 Aug 2007 12:00 AM

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Unilever to cut staff in UK efficiency drive

Leading FMCG producer plans to slash headcount as part of restructuring plan to boost efficiency.

Unilever UK, one of the UK's biggest FMCG companies, is set to axe up to 350 jobs by 2008 as part of its restructuring plans. The jobs will be lost as part of the company's ‘One Unilever' programme, which is intended to make the business more competitive in the UK.

Under the first phase of restructuring, Unilever will reduce the number of managerial roles by 50%. This will be followed by changes in the rest of the sales and marketing departments by the end of 2007. Under a third phase of restructuring, Unilever will consolidate its three existing offices in the UK together in one location, Leatherhead, Surrey.

Unilever claims the restructuring will result in a "leaner, simpler business" as well as generating significant savings that can be re-invested in its core brands.

"The fortunes of our business have improved recently. The next change accelerates our transformation and affords us the opportunity to grow more consistently and rapidly," said Dave Lewis, chairman, Unilever's UK. "The organisation will retain its deep brand and category knowledge, but will be simpler and faster with a greater emphasis on our retail customers.

"To achieve this, the organisation will be dedicated to delivering against two essential tasks - one; taking the brand work developed by the central marketing teams and executing it brilliantly in the UK marketplace and two; working more closely with retail partners to fully exploit the opportunities that exist in the categories that we both work in," he added.

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