Levi Strauss & Co. announced plans to cut up to 15% of its global workforce as it restructures under new leadership.
The cuts are part of the company’s global productivity initiative and are expected to take place over the first half of the year under incoming CEO Michelle Gass.
The company is trying to rapidly tighten its belt as it contends with macroeconomic challenges and ongoing issues within its U.S. wholesale business.
“There’s been a lot of volatility this past year, some in our control, some outside. And so we are taking a cautious approach as we look forward,” Gass said in an earnings call with analysts.
The company has 20,000 employees globally, about 5,000 of whom are corporate employees. This means the layoffs will impact between 500 and 700 people. The company hasn’t confirmed which departments or regions will be impacted.
Levi’s declined to comment on the layoffs.
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The company said that its board of directors endorsed a multi-year global productivity initiative, called Project FUEL, which is designed in part to help drive “long term profitable growth.”
During this time, the retailer plans to optimize its operating model and structure, redesign business processes and identify opportunities to reduce costs while simplifying processes across the organization.
“The success of these strategic initiatives drove our growth in the fourth quarter and positioned us to create outsized long-term shareholder value in the years ahead,” Gass said in its earnings report.
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Gass is expected to take over as CEO at the end of the month. She was tapped to take over Levi’s in November 2022 and assumed the role of president during the transition process. During that time, she worked closely with the company’s executive leadership team and current CEO, Chip Bergh.
|LEVI STRAUSS & CO.
She aims to turn the company into a denim apparel lifestyle business.
The company is the latest in a growing list that have trimmed their workforces in the new year.
Amazon, Google and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have already laid off employees this year, as have banking titan Citigroup and the Los Angeles Times.
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