Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2013 05:04 PM
The leaders of Whole Foods Market, Starbucks and The Container Store on Monday exhorted fellow retailers to increase transparency, stand on principle and to see themselves as part of a "wider circle of responsibility" to ensure their success.
Speaking sequentially to an audience of 27,000 at the National Retail Federation's BIG Show in New York, the CEOs offered a combined keynote address that advocated lifting up employees and valuing vendors as the major brands assume heightened global leadership in a time of government retrenching.
Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, said retailers should strive to create an environment of "conscious capitalism."
"Charity alone won’t do it," he said. "We need business and capitalism, purpose and profit.”
Tindell said focusing on the well-being of employees "pays off and reflects on customers. It’s not what you sell, it’s what you stand for. Customers and employees become your evangelical supporters. We want our vendors to think of us as their favorite customers, and this causes the universe to conspire to assist you.”
Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb agreed, saying that “business is making a wider wake in the world, not just doing the minimum, but part of a wider circle of responsibility.” The company's approximately 75,000 employees comprise a 40 percent ownership stake in the company, and 86 percent have health insurance.Continue reading...
follow the money
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 10, 2013 05:02 PM
Along with adjusted net income of $1.2 billion, American Express delivered a surprise in its fourth quarter earnings report today: the elimination of 5,400 jobs as part of a global reorganization of its business units, with over $400 million in severance and its business travel unit taking a big hit.
The company has endured more than a decade of downsizing under CEO Ken Chenault: 7,700 jobs in 2001; 6,500 jobs in 2002; 7,000 jobs (10% of its workforce) in 2008; 4,000 jobs in 2009. This round of cuts, as Wall Street Journal reports, represents "its biggest retrenchment in a decade," and will shed 8.5% of its workforce.
“Against the backdrop of an uneven economic recovery, these restructuring initiatives are designed to make American Express more nimble, more efficient and more effective in using our resources to drive growth,” said Chenault. “For the next two years, our aim is to hold annual operating expense increases to less than 3 percent. The overall restructuring program will put us in a better position as we seek to deliver strong results for shareholders and to maintain marketing and promotion investments at about 9 percent of revenues.”
More details on the restructuring and impact on the company — which just launched a #foraliving recruitment campaign on Twitter and YouTube — from its press release:Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 4, 2013 04:49 PM
As America’s economy climbs back from some brutal years, plenty of folks are still looking for work. No matter how desperate they are, though, there are a few companies that they might want to avoid.
One of them is satellite TV provider Dish Network. It already has 26,000 employees, but the word is that not too many of them are happy. Last August, 24/7 Wall Street named it the Worst Company to Work for in America. Now that’s an accolade to put on your LinkedIn profile.
What makes it so bad? “Long hours, lack of paid holidays, and way too much mandatory overtime,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports. And it’s all because of one man: the 59-year-old legendary founder and chairman of Dish, Charlie Ergen, who maintains 53.2 percent of the company’s shares and 90.4 percent of the voting rights.
Ergen has never met a penny he didn't pinch. And while that sometimes means making shrewd business decisions, it also means making such choices as installing fingerprint scanners at the doors to company headquarters that are rigged to send emails directly to HR if an employee is late. The company only put in the scanners after Ergen noticed that the key/badge system was being circumvented by employees badging in for coworkers.
And the renowned cable-hater certainly has an eye for such detail.Continue reading...
ready for takeoff
Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 2, 2013 02:52 PM
It's a safe bet that the unabashedly iconoclastic head of the Virgin empire, Richard Branson, will continue to raise eyebrows in 2013, just as he has done in years past. The latest Virgin Atlantic branding campaign, the airline's first in two years, is just the latest example of Branson brashness that's quite out of the ordinary.
In a two-minute commercial that could pass for an X-Men trailer (and which Adweek calls "stylish, fantastical, tongue-in-cheek"), Virgin Atlantic has fun showing how a group of extraordinary children grow up to be extraordinary employees with superhuman abilities at an airline that is "flying in the face of ordinary." The global spot (watch below) will run in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute television commercials, with elements adapted for digital and cinema use, and slyly references the brand's wannabe-superhuman founder.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on December 13, 2012 11:40 AM
Cathay Pacific's Flight Attendants Union is lobbying the management of the Hong Kong-based carrier for improved wages, after the airline rejected the union's request for a 5% pay increase with a 2% offer on November 30.
The FAU this week approved a motion to go on strike in the new year — not by refusing to board the planes, but by performing the bare minimum required service. That means yes to water and flight safety instructions, and no to nuts, alcohol and smiles, with friendly service being the heart of the Cathay customer experience.
Not helping matters: the CX flight attendant who recently threatened to throw coffee in the face of daughter of the former Prime Minister of Thailand, and was duly fired. (Coffee, tea or third-degree burns?)
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2012 06:04 PM
Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier was honored in June with the “Good Scout” Award by Philadelphia’s Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council. Frazier grew up in North Philadelphia and credits scouting as instrumental in his life. Now Frazier, the first African American to head a major pharmaceutical company, is turning his back on the organization until it reverses its discriminatory policies.
Now Frazier and Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, have joined the growing wave of corporate leaders taking a stand against discrimination towards gay scouts and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.
As GLAAD notes of the corporate backlash to the Boy Scouts' anti-LGBT stance, Merck joins Intel and UPS with the following statement: “The BSA's policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines. The Foundation re-evaluated funding for the BSA when the organization restated its policy that excludes members on the basis of sexual orientation. Merck Foundation has notified the BSA of this decision.”
Boy Scouts of America director of public relations, Deron Smith, provided the following statement to brandchannel: “Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good. While not national sponsors, these companies have positively impacted America’s youth through support of Scouting in local communities. We respect their right to express their own opinions.”Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 5, 2012 11:14 AM
It turns out that Fresh & Easy was neither, in the end.
Tesco, the third largest retailer in the world, has announced that is ready to pull up stakes and close its 200 Fresh & Easy supermarkets in California and Nevada after a largely unsuccessful five-year run.
As Tesco CEO Phil Clarke put it about why the US grocery store brand is "under strategic review," "It just became clear to us that the journey to sustainable returns was going to take too long. ... It's likely but not certain that our presence in America will come to an end."
Tim Mason, deputy chief executive in charge of the U.S. business, has left the company, effective immediately, after 30 years of service. But as we reported back in July, the writing has been on the wall for Tesco's US expansion.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2012 05:01 PM
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on business policies and practices related to LGBT employees, and their 2013 report has good news.
“Businesses have laid a foundation of workplace equality the likes of which no previous generation of employees and job seekers has ever seen,” said the Human Rights Campaign in releasing its Index this week.
The HRC's CEI report has been released each fall since 2002 as a granular analysis of large U.S. employer’s performance pertinent to the LGBT workplace. When the group did its first survey a decade ago, just 13 businesses received top rating, while in 2013, a record 252 businesses achieved the top rating out of 688 businesses rated including the entire Fortune 500.
Companies are rated on 40 policies and practices, including having fully-inclusive equal employment opportunity policies, providing equal employment benefits, demonstrating organizational LGBT competency, evidence of their commitment to equality publicly, and exercising responsible citizenship.Continue reading...