Breaking: CNN and HLN are beginning a process of offering buyouts to hundreds of employees today. The Turner networks are among those feeling the effects of plan laid out by Turner CEO John Martin in a memo to all employees last week. More specifics came from CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker who told told employees last Tuesday they would hear from their managers about cutbacks. This morning, a note from Turner’s Chief Human Resources Officer arrived. The note, obtained by TVNewser explains that even after buyouts “Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.”
To support the company’s stated focus on programming, monetization and innovation, we are identifying cost savings and shifting capital allocations to high-growth areas where investment will drive growth and profitability. As part of these efforts, we are offering a Voluntary Separation Program to regular status Turner Broadcasting employees on Turner’s U.S. payroll working in the U.S. and who are at least age 55 and have 10 or more years of service as of December 31, 2014, excluding on-air talent and employees covered by a written employment agreement.
Today, employees meeting these eligibility requirements will receive a confidential, personalized email detailing the program, its benefits and deadlines for acceptance, which is strictly voluntary. This enhanced benefit offering is just one vehicle the company is implementing as part of a comprehensive plan. Given the current focus on reducing costs and prioritizing investments to maximize company performance, Turner will also undertake additional reductions in staffing.
We are grateful to the tenured employees whose service and dedication to Turner Broadcasting have made an indelible mark on our business success.
This is all part of Martin’s goal to create a more “streamlined, nimble and efficient company” as part of his “Turner 2020” plan.
News of Martin’s memo, first reported by Capital New York last week, set off a weeklong media blitz on impending Turner layoffs and the potential shuttering of HLN. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday on talks between CNN and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze for Beck’s news network to replace HLN; TheWrap.com reported yesterday the first set of numbers for buyout offers.
CNN has approximately 4,000 employees worldwide; HLN had approximately 250 across New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
Today’s buyout offer is the beginning of a longer process of changes that will continue into the Fall.