MILWAUKEE | Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. plans to eliminate about 100 jobs this year and "hundreds" more in 2017, the company's top executive told employees last week.
"As we invest in our strategic priorities to meet our clients' current and future needs, we are also committed to maintaining our strong financial position during this period of unprecedented low interest rates," Betsy Hoylman, a spokeswoman for Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. "To balance these two goals, we've been evaluating how we work to better serve our clients. While we will continue to focus on hiring people with the skills we need and developing our teams, some positions will be impacted and these decisions have not been easy."
John Schlifske, the chairman and chief executive of Northwestern Mutual, made the job news official Thursday during an employee town hall meeting.
The company said earlier this month that it expected to eliminate some jobs as it dealt with lingering low interest rates that have made it harder to increase profits. Low interest rates make it more difficult for insurers to grow earnings because insurance companies invest premiums from policy owners mostly in relatively safe investments tied to rates.
The Milwaukee-based insurer is one of the metro area's largest employers, with a workforce of about 5,900 at its downtown and suburban campuses.
Information on the types of jobs that will be cut wasn't immediately available.
The company currently is constructing a $450 million tower and commons building near Milwaukee's lakefront. Northwestern Mutual officials have said the new facilities are needed for the long-term success of the company and its ability to attract top talent.