Sign up for email alerts, from breaking news to weekly commentary:
Crime in the suites at Hostess headquarters
After saddling Hostess Brands with nearly a billion dollars in debt, engaging in years of gross mismanagement, plunging the sugary-snack-maker into bankruptcy, and eliminating the middle-class jobs of some 18,000 Americans, shouldn't the owners and top executives at least have to say "We're sorry" – and do some sort of penance?
Of course they should!
But don't hold your breath waiting for common ethics to flower in Hostess headquarters. After all, this is Corporateworld – a laissez-fairyland where failure at the top is not punished, but magically rewarded. Thus, the maker of Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, and Devil Dogs has announced that 19 of the executives who made a mess of Hostess are now to be given $1.8 million in bonuses – on top of sweet pay raises they'd already grabbed. The bonuses were described as "incentive pay" to keep these geniuses on the job as they oversee the firing of all those workers.
However, CEO Gregory Rayburn will not get a bonus. But shed no tears for him, since he's currently being paid $125,000 – a month! – to dismantle the corporation. Also, while Lord Gregory has imposed a company-wide paycut on management employees, he generously exempted himself from the hit. Talk about a Devil Dog!
But, wait, there's more. Not satisfied with killing the jobs of 18,000 workers, Hostess honchos also looted money that, by contract, was supposed to go into the workers' pension funds! As the company was sinking toward bankruptcy, the Ding Dongs in the executive suite (who, remember, were giving themselves pay raises at the time) were secretly diverting worker pension money into corporate operations in a stop-gap ploy to keep Hostess afloat – and to disguise their incompetence.
Forget doing penance – these guys ought to be doing ten-to-twenty in prison for grand larceny.
"What Twinkie Woe? Hostess Execs Get $1.9 Million in Bonuses," www.gothamist.com, November 29, 2012.
"Hostess Executive Bonuses: Twinkie-Maker To Seek Approval For $1.8 Million In Bonuses During Liquidation," www.huffingtonpost.com, November 29, 2012.
"Hostess CEO cuts everyone's pay but his," www.msn.com, December 4, 2012.
"Hostess Maneuver Deprived Pension," www.yahoo.com, December 10, 2012.