a hatchet man
A person hired by a company to make sweeping changes to save money, usually by reducing staff. We knew our days were numbered when our company brought in a hatchet man to make cuts to the staff.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a hatchet manINFORMAL
A hatchet man is someone who is employed to do unpleasant tasks, especially to get rid of jobs in a company. Note: A hatchet is a small axe. Hall, they reckoned, was a hatchet man, out to shred the workforce and totally crush the union. Note: A woman who does a similar job can be called a hatchet woman. She had a reputation for being a ruthless hatchet woman. Note: This expression is usually used to show disapproval. Note: This expression may relate to violent gang warfare in the United States during the early part of the 20th century. Gangs often hired an assassin or `hatchet man' to hack an important member of a rival gang to death with a hatchet. This work was known as a `hatchet job'.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012