26-04-2012: Merck announced the efficiency measures it plans to take related to Merck Serono’s operations in Switzerland as part of the comprehensive transformation program announced by the company in February. Merck’s transformation program is focused on addressing unprecedented market shifts, increasing competition in key product areas and existing inefficiencies in its own organization.
“The planned measures for Merck Serono’s operations in Switzerland are needed to ensure our global competitive position in a rapidly changing market and to secure the long-term future of the company,” said Stefan Oschmann, Executive Board Member of Merck and responsible for the Merck Serono division. “Regrettably, these planned measures include the closure of our headquarters in Geneva, which would result in workforce reductions and the redeployment of certain Switzerland-based functions to other Merck locations. We are committed to working closely with key stakeholders, especially affected employees, to find socially responsible solutions, including exploring potential entrepreneur partnership programs and redeployment proposals.”
To eliminate existing duplications of functions resulting from maintaining two European headquarters, Merck Serono intends to consolidate all headquarter functions in one Merck Serono Campus in Darmstadt, Germany. Additionally, the company plans to transfer key research and development positions from Geneva to Darmstadt (Germany), Boston (USA) and Beijing (China) in order to optimally leverage scientific expertise in the biotech hub of Boston and to ensure state-of-the-art clinical development in all key growth markets. As a consequence, out of the 1,250 current positions in Geneva over 750 positions would be transferred. In addition, Merck Serono plans to reduce 500 positions to eliminate duplications and create a leaner, more agile organization. Therefore, it is planned to close the facilities in Geneva.
Despite these planned measures, Merck Serono will maintain a manufacturing presence in Switzerland and will continue to manufacture biotech products in its state-of-the-art biotech production sites in Aubonne and Corsier-sur-Vevey (both in the Canton of Vaud). However, Merck also plans to reduce approximately 80 positions across the three production sites in Aubonne, Corsier-sur-Vevey and Coinsins. The division’s existing manufacturing operations in Coinsins are planned to be relocated primarily to the Aubonne site. Out of the 750 positions planned to be transferred, Merck Serono intends to relocate over 130 positions related to technical manufacturing operations from Geneva to the Aubonne area in the Canton of Vaud in order to be close to its manufacturing activities. Merck intends to maintain its Swiss market operations in Zug.