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August 28, 2014 – Pernod Ricard has announced plans to eliminate a total of 900 jobs worldwide as part of its “Project Allegro” cost-cutting program, with an overall goal of cutting $198 million in costs between now and 2017. CEO Pierre Pringuet disclosed the cuts in an interview with Bloomberg News as the company announced an 8% drop in annual earnings for the fiscal year ending June 30. The project is being led by chief operating officer Alexandre Ricard, who is scheduled to succeed Pringuet as chief executive and become company chairman in 2015. Ricard plans to reinvest at least a third of the savings into marketing for the Pernod Ricard brand portfolio.
Pringuet did not disclose specific targets for the cuts in the Bloomberg interview, but Aberdeen’s Press & Journal reports 100 jobs will be eliminated at the Paris-based company’s headquarters. Chivas Brothers, the company’s Scotland-based whisky and gin unit, is one of the largest divisions in the company. The number of cuts at Chivas Brothers has not been disclosed, but spokesman Jim Long tells WhiskyCast that the cutbacks will target back-office and support functions with little impact on production. Pernod Ricard is the world’s second-largest spirits company, and its extensive Scotch whisky portfolio includes Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s, along with the Glenlivet, Aberlour, Strathisla, and Longmorn malt distilleries. Chivas Brothers reopened Glen Keith distillery in Speyside last year to increase its malt whisky supplies, and is nearing completion of a new malt distillery on the site of its former Imperial distillery in Speyside.
Pernod Ricard USA spokesman Jack Shea told WhiskyCast today that the total of 900 jobs includes positions already eliminated at the US distribution unit earlier this year. Pernod Ricard USA recently revamped its distributor network, with a number of employees transferring to distributors to work specifically on the Pernod Ricard brand portfolio. Irish Distillers has already completed a program of voluntary buyouts that eliminated 35 jobs, with 600 employees remaining on board. A spokesman for Corby Distillers, the Pernod Ricard majority-owned Canadian distiller, told WhiskyCast there will be no significant impact from the cuts on Canadian operations.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with details on cuts at Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers and Irish Distillers divisions.
Links: Pernod Ricard