Rolls-Royce CEO cuts 4,600 jobs

LONDON: Rolls-Royce is to cut 4,600 jobs over two years in the latest attempt by boss Warren East to cut costs and make Britain’s best known engineering company more profitable and dynamic.
East, a softly-spoken former tech boss, has overhauled the 134-year-old Rolls since he took charge in 2015 but the new cuts come as the group grapples with an aero-engine problem that has grounded planes and angered clients.
The announcement, which is not linked to the Trent 1000 engine issue, marks the biggest round of job cuts since the company was forced to retrench during the aviation crisis that followed the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001.
The plan will remove just over 10 per cent of the workforce, targeting duplication in corporate and management roles to try to save £400 million ($536 million) a year by 2020.
Two thirds of the job cuts will fall in Britain, where it employs 15,700 at its headquarters in Derby, central England.
The cuts will not affect its engineers, it said.
“Rolls-Royce is at a pivotal moment in its history,” East told reporters. “We are poised to become the world leader in large aircraft engines.
But we want to make the business as world-class as our engineering and technology is.
“We are proposing the creation of a much more streamlined organisation.
We have to significantly reduce the size of our corporate centre, removing complexity and duplication that makes us too slow, uncompetitive and too expensive.”
East, who built the chip designer ARM Holdings from a start-up into Britain’s biggest tech company, has vowed to simplify Rolls and drive greater efficiencies to enable it to generate £1 billion of free cash flow by 2020.
In January he divided the company into three business units and said on Thursday he was now ready to remove management duplication between those layers and the corporate centre.
The huge restructuring, costing a total of £500 million over 2018-2020, will be reported as separate one-off costs, allowing it to stick to its targets for free cash flow.
“These changes will help us deliver over the mid and longer-term a level of free cash flow well beyond our near-term ambition,” East said.
Rolls shares traded 2.7 per cent higher by at 851 pence by 0830 GMT after it published details of the plan.
The overhaul will have to be carried out against a backdrop of huge pressures on the group which has been blindsided by problems with parts of the Trent 1000 engine which powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet.
Having discovered that parts of the engine were not lasting as long as expected, the company is having to ground planes to carry out inspections, forcing airline clients to lease alternative planes to meet demand in the busy summer period.
That programme has pushed up costs, increasing pressure on Rolls to find savings elsewhere. — AFP