FT to make 80 staff redundant but invest digitally
LONDON - The Financial Times is to make up to 80 staff redundant across several departments, but will continue to invest in its flagship website FT.com.
In an email from the paper's chief executive John Ridding, employees were told that those affected would be notified by the end of tomorrow.
The redundancies will come from across the company's global operations as the paper continues to integrate its print and digital divisions.
Ridding wrote: "It is early days, but it's already clear that 2009 will be a crucial year for news media. Structural change caused by audiences and advertisers moving to digital channels is combining with global recession to intensify the twin challenges facing our industry.
"We are determined to sustain our momentum through these challenges and emerge in even stronger competitive shape."
He continued: "We understand that change isn't easy -- especially when it affects colleagues and friends who we've worked with closely. But these measures are necessary to build on our success.
The consultation period regarding the redundancies begins today.
Ridding also commented on the FT's priorities for 2009, which include further investment in FT.com, further increasing its subscriber base, and the launch of new digital publications.
In December last year, the FT offered staff voluntary redundancies and froze the salaries of employees earning more than £30,000.
The paper had already made some redundancies in its library and research division two months prior.
John Ridding's email in full:
I hope you managed to have a good break over Christmas and the New Year.
It is early days, but it's already clear that 2009 will be a crucial year for news media.
Structural change caused by audiences and advertisers moving to digital channels is combining with global recession to intensify the twin challenges facing our industry.
We are determined to sustain our momentum through these challenges and emerge in even stronger competitive shape. Over the past year, our coverage of global business and political events has earned us a series of awards and recognition for the unrivalled quality of our journalism. We have taken market share across our commercial operations, and we have invested in new formats and digital channels. This month we will reach one million registered users on FT.com, the most recent milestone in our growth.
Maintaining our market leadership means we must continue to invest, to adapt and to deploy our resources to maximum effect.
Priorities for 2009 include:
- Further investment in FT.com, building on the successful re-design of 2008 with new features and functionality.
- The launch of new digital publications, from a China business report to an online edition of HTSI.
- Further increasing our subscriber base, in print and online, to drive our content revenues.
- Deeper integration of our print and online teams across our commercial and editorial operations.
- Improved services to our corporate customers, including last week's launch of a new RSS feed for tailored FT content.
- Sustained international expansion, including growth in our Middle East edition and Chinese language operations.
With a tougher business environment, these objectives mean we have to be especially focussed on our efficiency and productivity. Sustaining our financial strength is essential to maintaining the quality of our journalism and the dynamism of our organisation.
Over the past year we have taken a number of significant measures to reduce our costs and re-deploy resources, from print and distribution savings to contract renegotiations with suppliers and outsourcing non-core processes.
We are now taking the next steps in reorganising and streamlining our business. We are deepening integration in our print and digital operations, combining some operations with our recent acquisitions and simplifying some of our processes to increase efficiency and deploy resources in line with our objectives.
These changes involve a restructuring plan across several departments, and regrettably, about 80 people are likely to be affected across our global operation.
We are entering a consultation process regarding that reorganisation today. And we will move as quickly as possible to reduce uncertainty. Your department head or line manager will provide you with more information about the changes. All those who may be affected will be notified by the end of tomorrow. We will, of course, do all we can to help find alternative employment for those affected, within the FT Group and Pearson.
Lionel and I will be giving staff presentations on Wednesday 14th to outline our plans and priorities in more detail and address any questions you have.
We understand that change isn't easy -- especially when it affects colleagues and friends who we've worked with closely. But these measures are necessary to build on our success.
We can draw on unique advantages in extending that success. Our global operation is a source of strength and differentiation -- the addition of FTB, Money Media, OCO and Executive Appointments to our organisation gives us a leading position in important niches, and with digital, mobile and video distribution we have become a multi-channel business, complementing our strength in print, and building a growing, loyal and engaged audience.
You have all helped build these advantages, through your hard work and expertise. I appreciate your continued commitment and thank you for your support in the months ahead.