Review fuels jobs fear at `Financial Times'

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The Independent Online
Fears of job cuts of as much as 10 per cent at the Financial Times yesterday prompted a promise by the newspaper's editor, Richard Lambert, that any staffing changes would not "damage the quality of the newspaper", and that full details of any redundancy programme would be announced by next week at the latest.

A full-scale review of costs and editorial systems at the venerable financial title is nearing completion, and is expected to yield radical prescriptions about staffing, budget systems and other management issues. The review has been dubbed Century Bold, the name of a newspaper typeface, to reflect its scope and range.

The Financial Times chapel (branch) of the National Union of Journalists last week suspended its involvement in Century Bold working groups, pending clarification from the company about redundancies.

In a letter to staff, Mr Lambert said he was "not yet in a position" to say if changes being recommended would lead to redundancies, but promised that any job cuts would be achieved through voluntary departures, "as far as possible".

Mr Lambert insisted there were no plans for job cuts on a "crude top- down basis". Last night he defended the review, being undertaken at the direction of Stephen Hill, the paper's new chief executive, saying "a lot of good ideas have come out". He stressed that "nothing had been decided," and that any rumours of 10 per cent cuts had come "out of the sky". The paper, one of the most highly staffed nationals, has been widely expected to follow other newspapers in announcing job cuts.