Kraft Foods said Tuesday it would slash 1,600 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 organizations," 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 percent of the positions are currently vacant, Kraft said.
The cuts do 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 and another 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.
"Taking the necessary steps now will enable us to continue investing in our beloved brands to drive growth."
Kraft owns famous food brands like Cadbury, Maxwell House, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Tang and Trident.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012