Western Union Co. on Thursday announced plans to streamline its operations by trimming executive numbers and closing facilities.

The plans include the elimination of 175 positions and the migration of work now performed by another 550. Western Union has about 6,800 workers.

The company's chief executive-elect, Hikmet Ersek, said, "Simplifying our structure will allow us to improve our productivity and customer focus, capitalize on growth opportunities and enhance long-term financial returns for our shareholders."

Western Union struggled last year as demand for money transfers dwindled during the recession because of high U.S. unemployment. Strong demand in international markets partly made up for the softness in the Americas.

Western Union said last month that Ersek, who is chief operating officer, would succeed Christina Gold, who is retiring, as CEO on Sept. 1.

Western Union shares rose on the news. At midmorning Thursday they were at $16.11, up 2.87% from Wednesday's close. The stock is down 17% this year.