Insurance giant Swiss Re to axe 2,000 jobs

The Swiss owner of the iconic Gherkin tower in London today said it would axe up to 2,000 jobs by the end of next year.

The Swiss owner of the iconic Gherkin tower in London today said it would axe up to 2,000 jobs by the end of next year.

Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurance company, said its offices in London, Zurich, Kansas City, Munich and Armonk in New York “will be most affected” by the cuts, which follow the acquisition of GE’s insurance unit last month.

The Zurich-based company has 1,000 staff in the UK including 750 at the Gherkin and a further 250 former GE workers around England.

Swiss Re, which has already cut 250 management jobs, said details of where the rest of the cuts would fall would be worked out over the next four months.

“The large office locations including London will have to bear more of the job cuts than the smaller ones,” a spokesman said.

Swiss Re has 11,500 staff around the world including 2,500 former GE employees.

In a statement today, Swiss Re said: “The job reductions, which will be completed by the end of 2007, will contribute to increasing Swiss Re’s overall efficiency and ensuring the company’s competitiveness.

“Swiss Re will achieve the job reductions through a mix of lay-offs and natural attrition. Swiss Re is committed to providing all employees affected with appropriate separation packages including professional career support.”

Swiss Re bought GE’s insurance unit for $7.6bn (€6bn) last month. The deal propelled it ahead of rival Munich Re as the biggest reinsurer in the world.

The Gherkin, which opened in 2004 and is also known as 30 St Mary Axe or Swiss Re Tower, was designed by Norman Foster and built on the site of the former Baltic Exchange following an IRA bomb in 1992. Swiss Re occupies the first 15 floors of the 40 floor building.

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