STAFF at one of Southampton’s major employers are waiting to hear how they will be affected by a cull of 2,300 jobs around the world.

British American Tobacco (BAT) – which employs 1,200 people in the city – said it was shedding the jobs in order to “simplify” its business and invest in alternatives to cigarettes.

The company has said the global announcement was not “market specific” and gave no indication of how the job losses would be split between companies.

But it said the move would affect more than a fifth of its senior staff.

A statement said the company was announcing “an important step in a programme to simplify its business and create a more efficient, agile and focused BAT”.

It added: “This will ensure the company is better placed to meet ever-evolving consumer needs and deliver savings that can be reinvested in the growth of its portfolio of New Categories such as vapour, tobacco heating products and oral tobacco.”

It said it would be reducing management layers and creating fewer but larger and more accountable business units.

It would be simplifying “all key business processes” and “ways of working”.

The company added: “The programme, which is planned to be substantially complete by January 2020, envisages a reduction of around 2,300 roles globally.

“With the focus on simplification and removal of management layers, it is expected that over 20 per cent of the senior roles in the organisation will be affected.”

A consultation process is now underway with all staff who will be impacted.

Chief executive Jack Bowles said: “Since taking on the role of chief executive five months ago, I have been clear that I wanted to make BAT a stronger, simpler and faster organisation and ensure a future fit culture.

“My goal is to oversee a step change in New Category growth and significantly simplify our current ways of working and business processes, whilst delivering long-term sustainable returns for our shareholders.

“This is a vital first move to help achieve these goals.

“A programme of this significance involves decisions that will be difficult for our people, but ultimately it is the right thing for our business.

“As a result, BAT will be better placed to deliver on our target of generating £5billion of revenues in New Categories by 2023/24.”

BAT, which owns such well-known brands as Benson & Hedges and Lucky Strike, has its Southampton operation at Regents Park Road.