Alturis is finished as far as it relates to Kmart. Grey has taken that piece. The page count is down so far that noone else probably wants the Meridian business.
There have been several rounds of layoffs. So I would imagine that the ratio of senior management to staff is now around 40:1.
Surdell and Ozzie probably sit around and swap stories all day. Surdell probably does most of the talking. Ozzie just grunts occassionaly. It probably takes accounting two hours to close the books and produce financial statemets. Oh ... I forgot ... ther's still Frank's Nursery and Pamida .... make that three hours. Crowe has probably been called back to active duty as a consultant (between naps).
He is probably not aware, but anyone with brains on his staff can deduce the impending doom if they have to return the $24m.
Again, In don't know how much revenues have been reduced, (maybe they have not been bad enough to cause the firing of senior management yet), but it sounds like that alone is major cause for the troops to panic.
If they don't return the $24m, they will lose the business anyway. So, I don't see how they can survive. It is only a matter of time.
From what I could gather, Surdell has not even addressed the issue with the staff. One would almost think that there is an obligation to do so. Moral obligation might be too strong, but definitely a resposibility, none the less.
The morale in Troy is horrible. Many are looking for new jobs. The problem the staff is up against relates to the high unemployment rate in Michigan. (Highest in the nation). Another irritaion lies in the fact that staff has been cut but senior managemnt remains in tact.
Do you think Surdell is even aware of the damage the $24 mil will do?
That is an interesting perspective, and true to form since Surdell lives in fantasy land anyway.
I never met the GM, but heard that she was a bit green and inexperienced. Then again....there is a paucity of talent throughout that whole place, from what I've seen.
Let us know what you find out, after you ask around this weekend.
Plan to ask around this weekend. I'm curious as to how Surdell is spinning the $24 million to the troops.
About six months ago I had lunch with a staffer who used to be a good friend of Surdell's. Then Surdell was telling the staff that it was nothing to worry about. This guy made it sound like the issue wasn't even on anyone's radar screen. Having worked in that culture, I believe that.
In the next breath, he was telling how the Troy GM had gone into the hospital a couple of times for what sounded like stress related issues. Did you ever meet her? I felt she had a lot of talent and potential. Overly detail oriented, but very sharp. She needed a broader business background, however. (I'm sure with all that's going on there now, she'll get plenty of that). She's one of the few that will not have to worry about finding another job.
Did you ever get a read from your friends regarding the latest court ruling? Do you think they know that the end is near?
I agree that it seems strange that there has not been major layoffs at this point. I would also think that six months is the likely time frame.
I don't know if the O. studio is still in business or not - I haven't heard that it is not, so one must 'assume' it is. The T. studio is still going - all though I THINK [heard a 'rumor'] it might be under AGT/Kohlberg direction not D.S. direction [it still has the M. name though].
Got to run!
Ateam, I drove by the Omaha office today. There were definitely some empty parking spaces. Not as many as I expected, however. Didn't notice may Jeep Grand Cherokees. Only one, actually. Did they switch the lease vehicle to something like the Hyundai Santa Fe??
Meant to ask you ... do they still have the sacred photo studio in Omaha?
I once made the mistake of asking why we had such a huge division with little or no revenue.
Didn't make that mistake again.
This was a unique group. They were not subject to the normal business constraints of economic gain or loss. The fact that they went $10,000 in the red every month was of no concern. This group operated on a much higher plain. These folks were artists.
I used to enjoy going to the photo studio. Everyone was so relaxed and laid back. It seemed like they were always on break. Rarely would you actually find anyone in the "studio".
Their busiest time came when a new employee was sent to the studio for his / her photographic ID badge.
I'm joking of course. Seriously, when they got "real busy" the studio capacity expanded from its usual 5% to at least 10%. You could also tell on the P&L. The net loss would fall to around $8,000 per month.
It never ceased to amaze me that these Omaha managers were not only paid salaries for losing money, but bonuses as well.
There was one little short, bald guy who worked there who always seemed to be in a bad mood. Now, I couldn't understand that. Working with that group should be one's life ambition. Every time he saw me he scowled. I finally heard that someone provided him access to the payroll records and he discovered how small his salary was in relation to everyone else's. So in addition to being short and bald, he was now inexpensive as well. I then understood.
I think that "Mr. S." will retire. It will be interesting to see what affect the new head of Kmart marketing will have on M's future. I am guessing NOT GOOD!! M may not last 6-months if Kmart finds another source that will produce the work/pages for the price/volume that Kmart has dictated. Just my guess.