NORTHFIELD, Ill., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Kraft Foods said Tuesday it would lay off 1,600 workers in North America in 2012 to position the company for splitting up its grocery and snack operations.
The layoffs are scheduled "to help ensure its North America-based snacks and grocery businesses are well-positioned to become two independent public companies before the end of 2012," the company said in a statement.
"When we announced our decision to create two world-class companies in late August, we said both would be leaner, more competitive organizations," Kraft Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld said in a statement.
"We're confident that this transformational work will improve effectiveness and fuel future growth of both companies," she said.
As part of the new strategy, after the spin off, Kraft said it would eliminate two and keep two of its four U.S. management centers.
The firm's Beverages business unit will move from Tarrytown, N.Y. and the Planters brand will move from East Hanover, N.J., the firm said. Both are headed to the metropolitan Chicago area by the end of the year.
Most employees affected by the move will be offered a chance to relocate and stay with the company, the statement said.
In addition, Kraft said it would close its Glenview, Ill., management center by the end of the year.