Layoffs at ING, Nike & ESPN

The global economic slump has forced organisations to make their workforces leaner and more agile.


Dutch bank, ING, will lay off 1000 employees by 2021 and shut its offices in South America and Asia. Nike also revealed its intention to slash 700 jobs at its world headquarters close to Beaverton, Oregon, in the US, by January 8, 2021. On the other hand, ESPN plans to slash 300 jobs. Additionally, there are about 200 open positions that the American multinational basic cable sports channel has no intentions to fill anytime soon.

ING, which is Netherland’s leading bank, employs about 53,000 people across 40 nations. It now plans to focus on core clients and simplify operations geographically.

Globally, ESPN has about 6,000 employees, of which 4,000 are working out of its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, in the US. With live sports events being cancelled for a long time due to the pandemic, 2020 has been a bad year for sports television, in general. The Company realises the need to focus on direct-to-consumer business strategy, digital, and invent new and advanced television experiences.

Back in July, Nike had first disclosed its plan to cut a minimum of 500 jobs and also shut its childcare centres, which had impacted about 192 staff members. Recently, it revealed that it would actually ask about 700 employees to leave by sending them a direct notification, as they are not part of any labour union.

These layoffs are part of Nike’s efforts to restructure and streamline processes, focussing more on the direct-to-consumer channels. The boost being given to e-commerce under its ‘consumer direct acceleration’ programme is going to empower Nike digitally. The objective is to make the Company lean, nimble and ready for the future marketplace. Nike will reinvest in the areas of high potential, and the restructuring and realignment will result in some amount of job cuts. Any costs that may be saved will be poured back in the areas being prioritised.

As for Nike’s operations in India, it is not clear whether its corporate office will continue to function or whether all work will be shifted to Singapore. Already 35 per cent of Nike stores were shut in India four years ago. In 2019, Nike had less than 150 stores in the country. At that time, it had let go quite a few of its employees and absorbed a few in its offices in Southeast Asia.

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