Virgin Media, the UK-based cable and broadband company, has angered its employees and unions by announcing plans to award bonuses to its executives only a few months after laying off over 2,000 employees. Virgin Media is heavily in debt and the company lossed $73 million in the past quarter.
Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Berkett, said that “Clearly we are watching the pennies and keeping the costs low.” Apparently this doesn’t apply to pennies that are rolling into their own bank accounts.
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The executives of Kadant Inc, a Westford, MA-based paper production equipment manufacturer, announced that they paid themselves over $1.5 million in bonuses for 2008 just after announcing that they would be laying off 32 employees. The irony of this is that the $1.5 million bonus amount could have roughtly covered most, if not all, of the salaries of the 32 laid off workers.
Chairman and CEO William Rainville received a $872,100 bonus on top of his $647,000 base salary. Chief financial officer William O’Brien and chief operating officer Edward Sindoni both received $185,200 bonuses in addition to their $288,000 salaries. Jonathan Painter, executive vice president, earned a $125,000 bonus in addition to his $240,000 in base salary. Eric Langevin, senior vice president, took home $143,100 in bonus and $225,000 in base salary in 2008.
To make matters worse, it doesn’t even seem like these executives deserved bonuses in the first place. In 2008, Kadant’s revenues decreased by 10%, the company suffered a net loss of $22.6 million, and the stock price dropped 54%.