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Haworth cuts pay 10 percent for CEO Franco Bianchi, 2.5 - 5% for others

Thursday 16 April 2009

Haworth Inc. is doing more belt-tightening.
CEO Franco Bianchi is taking a voluntary 10 percent pay cut, while company vice-presidents will see their pay trimmed by 5 percent.

Other employees who earn more than $20 an hour or $41,600 salary will see their pay trimmed 2.5 percent.

\"There is no doubt the weakness of the economy in our industry is felt by Haworth,\" Bianchi said Thursday morning. \"We have taken multiple actions. This is the latest one.\"

The pay of hourly production workers won\'t be touched in this latest round of cost-cutting, because they have been impacted by previous measures, Bianchi said. However, plants will be shutting down the week of July 4 for planning purposes. Employees have the option of taking a vacation during that period.

He said the bigger cuts at higher pay levels was the \"ethical\" way to share the burden. Haworth is a privately owned company and doesn\'t release the salaries of its CEO and top executives.

The pay decreases which take effect immediately will remain in place through 2009 and their future will be re-evaluated in the fourth quarter.

\"The company is financially strong. We will have decent year,\" Bianchi said. \"The reality is there is a clear drop in customer demand in our market and we have to react.\"

The troubled economy has hit office-furniture makers hard this winter, forcing the region\'s big three to reduce staff and close facilities.

Herman Miller Inc. CEO Brian Walker and top executives recently took a second pay cut and instituted for all salaried employees a 10 percent pay reduction through a shortened work week.

Steelcase Inc. CEO Jim Hackett and other top executives saw their base salaries shrink 10 to 12 percent as well this year.

The industry trade group lowered its sights for production and shipping this year, now expecting orders to drop by 26.5 percent compared to 2008.

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