US giant Kraft Foods said it would slash 1600 jobs in North America this year ahead of a move to split its businesses into two separate entities.
"When we announced our decision to create two world-class companies last August, we said both would be leaner, more competitive organisations," said Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
The job cuts will touch operations in the United States and Canada, a big chunk of them in sales and corporate operations. Twenty per cent of the positions were currently vacant anyway, Kraft said. The cuts did not include manufacturing facilities, the company said, while suggesting that sector could be affected later.
"With the impending separation into two independent companies, Kraft is continuing its review of manufacturing facilities to consider what's best for both new companies."
Kraft plans to separate into two public companies, one focused on its snacks businesses, the other on its grocery businesses.
"Our plan for a more nimble company, combined with the current economic and competitive pressures, led us to this point," said Kraft executive vice-president Tony Vernon, who will lead the grocery company after the split.
Kraft owns famous food brands like Cadbury, Jacobs, Maxwell House, Nabisco, and Oscar Mayer.