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September 8, 2021

Synlait proposing large-scale job cuts as part of revamp

Synlait CEO: “Synlait has been through a lot of change over the last 12 months. This means some areas are now over-resourced and some areas are under-resourced.”

New Zealand-based dairy and infant-formula maker Synlait Milk has revealed plans to lay off 15% of its workforce – around 150 people.

In a stock exchange announcement this morning (8 September), Synlait said it had told staff it has “commenced a consultation process to update its organisational structure”.

The proposed move would see Synlait’s overall headcount – which is understood to be around 1,000 – reduced by approximately 15%. The company suggested this would generate potential annual savings of approximately NZD10m (US$7.1m) to NZD12m.

Company CEO John Penno said: “Synlait has been through a lot of change over the last 12 months. This means some areas are now over-resourced and some areas are under-resourced. We need to review and reset the structure of our business to match our current goals to be successful.”

Synlait said the changes are designed to “align leadership and resourcing around key business units (nutritionals, ingredients and liquids)”. The moves would also “remove any unhelpful hierarchy from the organisation to ensure staff have the information, resources, and freedom to act as they need to, to do their jobs every day”.

Penno added: “As part of this, we are also on a journey to transform our culture. We need to build teams that are working together with clear roles and responsibilities, and the systems needed to chase the growth we are looking to achieve. This is not just a cost out exercise, it is a complete reset of how we operate as a business.”

The consultation process will take place over the next two weeks.

Penno is a relative newcomer to the role, replacing Leon Clement whose departure was announced in April.

A month later Synlait forecast that it would be recording an annual loss.

It said today that a further update on its restructure will be provided along with its full-year 2021 results on 27 September.

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