“Hey Team, this is Wayne.” This is how all of Sales corporate emails started. Wayne told associates at a meeting that he does not see employees as “associates” but rather as “teammates”. We are all in this together he said, and we are going to work together as a team to turn this company around. He seemed so sincere. Yes, he did indicate they were looking for suitors but he also indicated he was going to tackle the issues with declining banner sales and focus on growing the independent business and Save-A-Lot. Wayne stood in front of the team looking more like a mob boss in his pinstripe suit than a knight on a white horse that he tried to portray.
Wayne Sales did nothing in regards to a turnaround. Instead, Supervalu had two #$%$ poor quarters under his leadership and I am confident that 4th quarter and year-end results will look just as bad. Also, folks are correct, Wayne did initiate cost cutting…no raises, no bonus and of course layoffs. They immediately put the corporate jets up for sale to prove a point and example of sacrifice…oh wait a second; they only sold off the two Citations worth about $2.5 million each. They did not sell the $40 million Gulfstream…we couldn’t have Wayne and friends fly commercial or in one of the smaller, more efficient jets.
Andy followed with his comments in a separate group meeting that he has a knot in his stomach and many sleepless nights. Other than laying folks off in his department, Andy contributed by approving a diversity cookbook…his comment in an email about the idea of the cookbook was “cool stuff”. He led quarterly meetings that had nothing to do about growth, but about goofy awards and Workforce Empowerment. By the way, Andy introduced himself in a 2009 meeting stating, “I led the acquisition of Albertsons”. He told us of this acquisition with great pride and a sense of arrogance.
Herkert, Sales, Andy, Sherry and Janelle are all part of the team that acquired Albertsons; eroded shareholder value over the last six years; discontinued dividends; concocted a plan to pay bonus eligible employees 50% in cash and 50% in now worthless stock that vested in two years (you have to be employed to collect); salary freezes; discontinued 401k contributions which they referred to as entitlements; discontinuation of bonuses (this didn’t matter, we would never have hit the numbers anyway).
Don’t forget, Wayne hired Herkert. A supposedly proven retail executive…but with no turnaround experience. Herkert exhibited such leadership qualities, providing updates on cupcake and cookie sales at associate meetings. He was quoted in WSJ, “We are going to double the size of Save-A-Lot by 2015”, only to fail miserably. Instead, Supervalu sucked all it could from Save-A-Lot and when the business soften in a weak economy, Herkert fired the CEO and replaced him with a poor-English speaking CEO that knows little about American culture, much less the licensees that built the brand…good move.
I do not know what the hell the board was thinking about when they agreed to Golden Parachutes. These executives have no record of success and now they are being rewarded for the job that Goldman Sachs and Greenhill completed. What a joke. These payouts are an insult to everyone that works at Supervalu. How Wayne and friends can show their faces at the office or even look at themselves in a mirror amazes me. This is what is wrong with corporate America.
Always good to see well thought out posts like yours. I tend to think you are being overly harsh on Wayne Sales and that SVU came perilously close to bankruptcy but you may be right.
Think they can turn Save-A-Lot around???
This post actually depicts life as it has been known within the walls of SVU. Add the fact that the four golden ones, who were well aware of the changes coming, conveniently put their chosen puppets into roles that will survive the changes you have to wonder how they can show their faces let alone lead. Take the time to read the filings that outline the compensation to the executive "team" and you will see for yourself what corporate greed looks like beyond the four named above.
yes. pathetic. really is. MIght have as well hired a thirteen year old girl as ceo would have had the same or better results for the last ten years and she would have worked for a lot less and probably put in more hours....
You are indeed correct, expect no difference from the new regime to the current one. Sam enriched himself at Office Max, while instituting similar cost cutting measures as SVU has exprerienced. Do not anticipate reinstatement of 401k contributions, dividends, etc. It will be more of the same...layoffs and other demoralizing initiatives.