Axel Springer plans to cut 266 jobs to reduce costs

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Axel Springer AG, Europe's biggest newspaper publisher, plans to reduce its workforce by 266 positions to cut costs and improve the efficiency of its administration. About half of the job reductions should be achieved through an early retirement program and natural departures, Berlin-based Axel Springer said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The rest will be eliminated within the next three years. The decision to slash jobs is based on an examination of the company's administrative proceedings by German consulting company Roland Berger, Springer said. The cuts will help Springer maintain its position as „Germany's most profitable publisher,” CEO Mathias Doepfner said in the statement. Springer bet on Doepfner to turn the company around as the publisher braced for its first-ever annual loss in 2001. Doepfner returned the company to profit in 2002, the first year he ran it as CEO, by selling assets, merging editorial staffs and cutting 1,400 jobs. The 266 job cuts announced yesterday represent 2.8% of the company's total workforce. Doepfner, who joined Axel Springer in 1998 as Editor-In-Chief of the „Die Welt” newspaper, was named to the board of Time Warner Inc., the world's biggest media company, earlier this year. Shares of Springer rose 0.7% to € 115 in Frankfurt yesterday, giving the company a market value of € 3.9 billion ($5 billion). (Bloomberg)

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