Novartis was created from the merger of two Swiss companies, Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, in 1996. In 1998, Novartis Groups sales were CHF (Swiss France) 31.7(USD 21.8) billion, of which CHF 17.5 (USD 12.0) billion were in Healthcare, CHF 8.4 (USD 5.8) billion in Agribusiness and CHF 5.8 (USD 4.0) billion in Consumer Health (PR Newswire, 1999). The Healthcare division includes pharmaceuticals, generics, and CIBA vision. Agribusiness includes crop protection, seeds, and animal health. Consumer Health includes companies such as Redline, Roland and Eden (PR Newswire, 1999). Each division operates in numerous countries. Novartis Group annually invests more than CHF 3.7 (USD 2.5) billion in Research & Development (R&D). The company is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and employs about 82,000 people and operates in over 140 countries around the world (PR Newswire, 1999).
Since its creation, Novartis has undergone several lay-off periods worldwide (Shook, 1999). In June 1999, Novartis announced it would eliminate 1,100 jobs worldwide to counter a depressed farm economy (Craver, 1999). As part of those lay-offs, Novartis' North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region headquarters for its Crop Protection subsidiary eliminated 40 positions in Greensboro, North Carolina (Craver, 1999). The job cuts represented 6 percent of Novartis Crop Protection's global work force. At the same