Analysts forecast up to 1,500 job losses as Reuters launches group restructuring

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Reuters, the global financial information and transactions group, yesterday launched its most extensive restructuring in more than a decade, a move expected to result in about 500 redundancies.

The shake-up was announced just weeks before Tom Glocer replaces Peter Job as chief executive at the end of July. Rob Rawley, the current head of the company's media armReutersSpace, is leaving.

Philip Green, who heads Reuters information and trading solutions operation, will become its first chief operating officer, while Geoff Weetman, director of human resources, will also join the board. Jean-Claude Marchand, the group marketing director and board member, will also retire.

Asked about the job losses, a Reuters spokesman said: "We have said on a number of occasions that as part of the business transformation programme to reposition the company on an internet-based model, staff numbers will be impacted." The job losses will be concentrated in the group's upper management.

Analysts believe that the new operating structure, under which Reuters will be organised across customer segments, could raise redun- dancies above 1,500.

Reuters is to scrap its three main, product-based, operating divisions: information, trading solutions and ReuterSpace. It will reorganise itself to focus on customer businesses, including investment banking and brokerage, treasury, asset management and media.

The restructuring is to be completed before 2002. Earlier this year the group trimmed 50 positions. Reuters is worked at cutting costs by £150m per year by 2003. The steamlining came midway through a £500m four-year programme to transform business practices using internet technologies.

A City analyst, commenting on the changes, said: "I think Tom Glocer is showing that he is willing to be aggressive where necessary to ensure cost savings come through. It comes as no great surprise as these sort of management changes were expected."

In April, Reuters said it expected growth in the current quarter to slow from the first quarter. Its shares fell 22p to 998p.