British American Tobacco is to axe 2,300 jobs, including a fifth of senior roles, as the cigarette maker restructures its business amid waves of industry change.

The maker of Lucky Strike and Camel cigarettes on Thursday described the decision as an “important step” meant to “simplify its business and create a more efficient, agile and focused BAT.”

“This will ensure the company is better placed to meet ever evolving consumer needs and deliver savings that can be reinvested in the growth of its portfolio of new categories such as vapour, tobacco heating products and oral tobacco,” it said.

The shake-up comes five months after Jack Bowles took the reins as chief executive and is part of his attempt to make the group more nimble and to focus on newer products with the traditional cigarette market in decline.

BAT’s shares have sustained a loss, on a total return basis that includes dividend payments, of 11 per cent over the past year, compared with a 4.2 per cent positive return for London’s FTSE all-share index, FactSet data show.

“My goal is to oversee a step change in new category growth and significantly simplify our current ways of working and business processes, whilst delivering long-term sustainable returns for our shareholders,” Mr Bowles said, adding that, “this is a vital first move to help achieve these goals”.

BAT said the restructuring was expected to be completed by January next year. The group employed 57,000 people at the end of last year.

Via Financial Times

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