Marketing roles under threat as Coca-Cola GB eyes 100 job cuts

Coca-Cola is weeks into a consultation process as part of a restructure that could affect most of the staff in its UK marketing function.

A recent Coca-Cola ad at London's Piccadilly Lights (Photo: Getty Images)
A recent Coca-Cola ad at London's Piccadilly Lights (Photo: Getty Images)

Coca-Cola, which received wide acclaim for its Christmas ads this year, plans to reduce the size of its marketing workforce as part of a major restructure. It is currently going through a consultation process.

In its Coca-Cola GB operation the business has a marketing team of about 30 staff. A majority of these roles are thought to be affected by the restructure.

There are also about five communications and public affairs roles, but it is unclear exactly which ones are involved at this early stage.

The global restructure, which has been planned for months, follows a Christmas campaign season in which Coca-Cola received acclaim for its ads "Holidays are coming" and "The letter", the latter of which was directed by Taika Waititi (see video below).

Across the Coca-Cola GB enterprise, 101 roles have been earmarked for consultation.

The company told PR Week that on 9 November, it began the consultation process with the European Works Council, which represents Coca-Cola’s employees in 21 countries in Europe. It began a consultation with its Beverage Services Limited arm on 11 November.

“As part of the information and consultation process, we have shared with associates there is a potential impact on 101 roles across all functions based in Great Britain,” a spokesperson said.

“At the same time, we have shared that we plan to create new roles to enable the new ways of working and given that our employees would have the opportunity to apply to these roles[…] we expect that the real impact would be lesser.

“The proposed structural changes come with an intention to reallocate people and resources, which would include voluntary and involuntary reductions in employee numbers. As we are still in consultation and will be until 2021, we are not able to share any further detail of proposed headcount changes nor the numbers of employees who accepted our voluntary separation programme.”

A global restructure

Last year, Coca-Cola announced that it was restructuring its business into five global categories: Coca-Cola; sparkling flavours; hydration, sports, coffee and tea; nutrition, juice, milk and plant; and emerging categories.

The strategy involved cutting about half of its 400 brands globally, many of which were smaller country-specific products that did not contribute much revenue overall and could not be easily scaled.

The company revealed it was also streamlining its structure from 17 business units to nine.

Further details of its restructuring plan were revealed last week, with the news that it planned to cut 2,200 jobs.

The majority of these will be in the US, where 1,200 roles are expected to be lost, including 500 from its global headquarters in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola had about 86,200 employees at the end of 2019, of whom 10,400 were located in the US.

This article originally appeared in PR Week.

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