T Nation

Weider layoffs

Apologies if this has been posted earlier. I wonder if Timmy P’s had a few phone calls recently?
Ex LA times 1/29/03

WOODLAND HILLS – Less than a week after celebrating their successful merger with American Media Inc., 60 employees in Weider Publications’ local office found themselves out of a job.

Executives, support staff and Internet workers had been celebrating the sale of the health and fitness magazine publisher. Flush with $350 million from the transaction, which left the firm in the hands of tabloid publisher American Media, co-founder Joe Weider cut checks to thank his employees after the sale closed last Thursday. By Tuesday, 80 Weider employees nationwide had been given a pink slip.

“I’ve always believed whatever changes you have to make, you make right away,” said David Pecker, American Media’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Then, you can get onto business.”

He estimates the cuts will save him $10 million a year, allowing him to consolidate work forces between his new operations at Shape, Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Fitness and Flex and his flagship National Enquirer and Star supermarket tabloids. Accountants, human resource specialists, marketers, Internet staff and new business development workers all found themselves jobless as of Wednesday morning. Former president and CEO Russell Denson and the other top executives also lost their jobs.

“I’m the chairman and president, so I don’t need another president,” Pecker said. “These were all duplicate functions. This is it. There are no more plans to move anyone.”

In addition to the local job loss, American Media cut 20 workers in the New York and Boston offices. Pecker said all had been offered severance pay and Denson, who was unavailable for comment, and the other executives left amicably.

“They’ll have something to cover them for a few months,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, since this is a very difficult time, but that’s just how you do business today.”

Though the sudden cuts left some employees upset, journalism professor William Drummond, a tabloid expert at the University of California at Berkeley, said the inclusion of severance was a bonus not always seen in mergers. He did note, however, that American Media generally rewards its employees well.

“Their reputation is that they pay top dollar and take care of their employees very well,” Drummond said. “When you acquire a company, there’s no fiduciary responsibility to the junior partner. Usually they’re the ones that get it in the neck, it’s only a question of when.”

So, the important issue - this guy’s name was David Pecker? How appropriate.

Uncle Joe gets the money and the staff gets the boot. How fitting!! Business as usual. One more reason not to buy Weider weights, books, supplements, etc.

All M&As are done with two unequal partners. Mergers of the equals = oxymoron. And the employees should’ve known that there would be a purging happening to get rid of all duplicate functions.

So, when do you figure all the bloated pros will get booted off the payroll? Word is they may only keep a few of the tops ones around once their current contracts run out. Brings a tear to my eye :wink: