Insurer ING Groep NV plans to lay off 400 workers by the end of this year and leave vacant 200 positions in the U.S., idling about 5 percent of its work force there, the company said Thursday.
The layoffs, which began Wednesday, are across various segments of business in the United States, which includes insurance and retirement products. Employees losing their jobs will be notified by the end of this week.
“It’s part of our efforts to sharpen our strategic focus and reduce administrative expenses as we get ready for our U.S.-focused IPO,” said Dana Ripley, a spokesman for ING Insurance Americas.
The company, based in Amsterdam, said Tuesday that it is preparing for two initial public offerings, one in Europe and a second in the United States.
The IPOs are expected to come sometime in early 2012.
The plan is to create two stand-alone companies, one in Europe with growth potential in developing markets and one in the United States with a focus on retirement services, the company said.
ING also announced a sweeping rearrangement of management effective in January, creating a management board for insurance and a separate board for banking.
As a result, Tom McInerney, chief operating officer of insurance, will leave the company as of Jan. 1.
He worked for Aetna Financial Services when it was acquired by ING in 2000. In 2006 he was appointed to the executive board of ING Group, responsible for Insurance Americas and ING Investment Management Americas. He became COO within the Management Board Insurance in January.
ING received $13 billion from the Dutch government in 2008.
Shares fell 50 cents, or 4.4 percent, to close at $10.84.