“Layoffs are coming,” Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt Disney Co. co-founder Roy O. Disney, stated on July 30, in a 24-part blitz of tweets lambasting the management of the multibillion-dollar corporation. “Your business practices have turned what would have been a crisis into a cataclysm for millions of American workers,” the documentary filmmaker and activist wrote.
The details of Disney’s impending layoffs have yet to be disclosed, but if the media empire’s furloughing of roughly 100,000 employees in April (a move that was estimated to help save the media empire some $500 million a month amid the pandemic) is any indication, a brutal blow can be expected. And, it won’t be the C-suite that is most sorely affected. Though Disney executive chairman Bob Iger — who has a net worth of $690 million — will forgo his base salary this year, while other top execs including new CEO Bob Chapek take pay cuts, these sacrifices are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. For example, Chapek is taking a 50% cut off his $2.5 million base salary — but this number doesn’t include his annual target bonus of $7.5 million and an annual long-term incentive grant of $15 million.
And Disney isn’t the only company continuing to make big payouts to its top brass while its bottom line — and in some cases, employees — continue to suffer. Keep reading to see which companies are giving bonuses to their execs while cutting jobs and closing locations.
Last updated: Aug. 3, 2020
J.C. Penney Co.
- Executive bonuses paid: $8 million
- Number of jobs cut: 1,000
J.C. Penney Co. approved nearly $8 million in bonuses just before its May 15 bankruptcy filing. CEO Jill Soltau, who received a $17.4 million package upon joining the retail giant in 2018, collected a $4.5 million bonus, while fellow executives Bill Walford, Michelle Wlazlo and Brynn L. Evanson were awarded $1 million each.
The company had previously furloughed 78,000 of its 85,000 employees as it closed its stores amid the pandemic, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May. On July 15, the department store said it would permanently close 151 stores and lay off 1,000 employees.
- Executive bonuses paid: $10 million
- Number of jobs furloughed: 11,000
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus temporarily closed all of its 67 stores in March and furloughed more than 11,000 employees in April, Reuters reported. The company filed for bankruptcy in early May — but at the end of July, U.S. bankruptcy judge David Jones approved the company’s nearly $10 million bonus program for Neiman Marcus’s eight top executives. Of that pool, CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck may get up to $6 million.
- Executive bonuses paid: $9 million
- Number of jobs cut: 3,900
Macy’s announced plans in late June to cut 3,900 corporate jobs — 3% of its total workforce — as a cost-cutting measure. But its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that shortly after that cut was announced, the struggling department store paid out $9 million in equity awards to six of its top executives, CNBC reported. That includes $3.7 million in restricted stock given to Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette.
- Executive bonuses paid: $14.6 million
- Number of jobs cut: TBD
Whiting Petroleum Corp. doled out $14.6 million in bonus payments to executives days before its April 1 bankruptcy, Reuters reported. It’s unclear how many job cuts could be coming, but the oil company cut 254 jobs — 33% of its workforce — just last year.
- Executive bonuses paid: $25 million
- Number of jobs cut: 200
Chesapeake Energy Corp. is another company that’s been hurt financially by both the pandemic and the Saudi-Russian oil price war. The shale pioneer declared bankruptcy in May — approximately eight weeks after it awarded $25 million to executives and lower-level employees, Reuters reported. The Oklahoma-based company cut 200 jobs in the state in April.
- Executive bonuses paid: $5.5 million
- Number of stores closing: 2,800
Ascena Retail Group — which owns the Ann Taylor, Loft, Lou & Grey, Justice, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Cacique brands –– filed for bankruptcy on July 23 and will shutter approximately 2,800 stores. The store closures will almost undoubtedly come with massive job cuts. Meanwhile, the retail group announced in late June that it planned to pay out $5.5 million in retention awards and performance bonuses to top executives, Multichannel Merchant reported.
- Executive bonuses paid: $3.1 million
- Number of jobs cut: Up to 450
Glassware company Libbey paid out roughly $3.1 million in bonuses to its executives — including $900,000 to its CEO Mike Bauer — shortly before filing for bankruptcy on June 1, Forbes reported. Libbey has already suspended its 401(k) matching program for employees, and on July 8, the company announced tentative plans to close its Shreveport, Louisiana, glass-manufacturing facility, which would leave 450 employees without jobs.
Chuck E. Cheese
- Executive bonuses paid: $2.9 million
- Number of locations closing: Up to 282
CEC Entertainment — the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza — recently paid retention bonuses to 28 employees, including $1.3 million to CEO David McKillips, $900,000 to president J. Roger Cardinale and $675,000 to executive vice president James Howell. The company temporarily closed all of its locations due to the coronavirus pandemic and laid off all of its workers at the time.
CEC Entertainment filed for bankruptcy on June 25. At the time of the filing, 282 company-run Chuck E. Cheese locations remained closed. It’s unclear how many of those closures will be permanent, though USA Today reports that CEC plans to permanently close 34 locations that were operating before the pandemic.
- Executive bonuses paid: Over $2.2 million
- Number of stores closing: Up to 1,374
GNC filed for bankruptcy in late June and announced that it could be permanently closing up to 1,374 locations — nearly half of its company-owned locations in the U.S. and Canada — by the end of the year, CBS News reported. Five days before GNC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it paid CEO Ken Martindale a $2.2 million bonus. The CFO and other top executives also received bonuses prior to the filing.
- Executive bonuses paid: $875,000
- Number of jobs furloughed: 3,400
In April, the Dallas-based company Tenet Healthcare Corp. furloughed about 3,400 of its hospital workers across the U.S., The Dallas Morning News reported. Earlier, the company furloughed 500 of its corporate employees.
Although CEO Ronald Rittenmeyer promised to give up three months’ pay — roughly $390,000 — to contribute to a fund that helps employees struggling to make ends meet, he would still be getting an $875,000 bonus, the Los Angeles Times reported.
- Executive bonuses paid: $1.5 million
- Number of jobs cut: 14,000
Hertz declared bankruptcy on May 22 — just days after it paid out $1.5 million in bonuses to senior executives, Reuters reported. The rental car company recently announced that it would be permanently cutting 14,000 jobs.
In her salvo of tweets criticizing Disney management, Abigail Disney wrote that furloughed employees “were already living close to the bone.” This is hardly a dramatization; according to Indeed.com, a Walt Disney Parks and Resorts actor makes an average of $10.82 an hour, while a food service worker earns $9.79 per hour. Disney ended her tweet-storm by suggesting the company do better by tapping into “moral courage” instead of continuing on this path of greed. Meanwhile, all four Walt Disney World theme parks have reopened, despite a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 12 Companies Paying Execs Millions as They Declare Bankruptcy and Slash Jobs