Pfizer Inc. has confirmed reports that employees have been offered early retirement options as the pharmaceutical giant seeks growth by "creating a simpler, more efficient structure."
"As we prepare for growth, we're creating a simpler, more efficient structure, which will affect some managerial roles and responsibilities," a spokesperson from Pfizer told S&P Global Market Intelligence in an Oct. 17 email. "We're offering enhancements to certain benefits to lessen this effect."
CNBC reported Oct. 17 that Pfizer sent a memo to employees a day earlier offering options to retire early before the company proceeds with planned layoffs in 2019. Pfizer is reportedly offering severance packages with 12 weeks base salary, plus three weeks salary for every year of work up to 104 weeks, according to the report from CNBC. Employees at least 55 years old with 10 years or more at the company will have until Nov. 2 to opt in.
Pfizer did not reveal exactly how many employees would be retiring or let go when reached by S&P Global Market Intelligence. CNBC reported that employees had been told the layoffs would happen across all business units.
Pfizer employs just over 90,000 people, and the spokesperson said the company expects only "a couple percentage points" of its global workforce will be eligible for the early retirement options.
"This is about creating a simpler, more efficient structure and not achieving cost savings," the spokesperson said.
Pfizer has recently undergone an executive shakeup following the announcement that CEO Ian Read would step down from the position at the end of the year.
Read, who has served as CEO for eight years, will be replaced by COO Albert Bourla. The incoming CEO announced changes to Pfizer leadership Oct. 9, including the appointment of Mikael Dolsten as chief medical officer and Lidia Fonseca as executive vice president and chief digital and technology officer, among others.