Even the big B isn’t immune to this economy. Yesterday they issued a press release stating that they were laying off 5% of their work force in North America and cutting back pay. No real big surprises here at all, seems fairly on par with what everyone else is going through.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (March 25, 2009) — Burton today announced that due to the challenging global economic situation, the company must cut its annual spending by reducing salaries in North America from the top down and laying off a small percentage of its North American staff. Burton is the world’s leading snowboard company and owns other top boardsports brands, including Channel Islands Surfboards, DNA Distribution (Alien Workshop and Habitat Skateboards), Analog, Gravis, ANON and R.E.D.
“This has been a very painful process for us, and considering the global economic situation, we’ve done everything in our power to save as many jobs as possible,” says Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin. “Our goal this entire year has been to cut as many costs as possible on a global level, like sales meetings, travel and new hires so that we could avoid cutting people. Instead of a much larger number of layoffs, we decided to take a different approach, which is temporarily reducing salaries on a sliding scale from 0-15% for employees in North America.”
Burton owners Jake and Donna Carpenter have chosen to eliminate their own salaries. Burton employees who have the highest salaries will face the biggest percentage of pay cuts, while employees who make less will experience smaller cuts. In order to save even more jobs, Burton has cancelled all bonuses and merit increases for North America this year and temporarily reduced the company’s 401K match from 4% to 1%.
In addition to salary reductions, Burton laid off less than 5% of its staff in North America, bringing the company’s total headcount in North America to 663. After staff reductions, Burton currently employs 418 employees at its headquarters and factory in Vermont, 17 employees at DNA Distribution in Ohio and 154 employees at its California offices. Globally, Burton employs 962 people.
Cost reductions across all brands were necessary because Burton is by no means immune to the global economic downturn, which worsened at an unprecedented pace during the company’s prime business season. However, as the global market share leader in snowboarding and with strong brand recognition around the world, Burton is well positioned to weather the economic storm.
“The shareholders at Burton are my wife Donna and myself,” says Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder and Chairman of Burton. “Our goals for Burton are not short-term, but the long-term prosperity of our brands, boardsports and the people involved. Donna and I want to thank our dedicated employees for their contribution to the company’s cause through a temporary pay reduction. The bottom line is that their sacrifice is preventing a far more significant layoff and will allow us to come out of this economic downturn stronger than ever.”
Looks like Jake and Donna aren’t getting a paycheck anymore, instead the company will be paying for those backcountry heli excursions. Also ski company operator Laurent will probably be an even more pissed off person with getting whacked hard on the salary cut. Oh well he’ll probably take it out on some poor unsuspecting intern.
Are we supposed to feel sorry for Burton? This is the same company that is trying to slowly choke the shops that made it this big. I guess they’ll fix everything when they start directly selling their wares. Seems to me that there would definitely be better ways to save salaries and peoples jobs.