NEW YORK (AP) _ Major restructuring at Coca-Cola Co. could result in the layoffs of at least 4,000 employees, which would be the largest job cut in the history of the world’s largest soft drink maker, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
The layoffs at Coke’s Atlanta headquarters and overseas operations were expected to be disclosed today when the company releases its fourth-quarter earnings results, the Journal reported, citing unidentified sources close to the company.
A Coke spokesman declined to comment.
Analysts had predicted Coke would trim its ranks by 2,000 workers, but the Journal said current plans would affect at least 13 percent of Coke’s 29,000 employees worldwide, or 3,770 workers. Bill Pecoriello, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. estimated that trimming 2,000 employees would save Coke about $150 million in salaries.
Coke is looking for ways to improve profitability amid sluggish sales. The layoffs and a relocation of employees already under way are part of a major corporate restructuring and decentralization of operations planned by incoming Chairman Douglas Daft.
Daft is replacing M. Douglas Ivester as Coke’s chairman and chief executive officer in April.