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Welbilt, AutoWeb, Lazydays executives take pay cuts as impact from Covid-19 grows

Margie Manning



Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

A growing number of top executives at local publicly traded companies are voluntarily reducing their pay as their firms address the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Corporate officers at Welbilt, Lazydays Holdings and AutoWeb are among the latest to take pay cuts, following an announcement last week that David Deno, the CEO of Bloomin’ Brands (Nasdaq: BLMN) would forgo most of his base salary for the foreseeable future.

Base pay is just one component, and often a small part, of the total compensation for top executives at publicly traded companies. Stock and option grants and awards, and non-equity incentive pay, which usually takes the form of a cash bonus, also are key elements of the compensation package for top officers at public companies.

The entire leadership team at Welbilt (NYSE: WBT), a commercial food equipment manufacturer in New Port Richey, voluntarily reduced their base salaries by 50 percent for April and May, the company said in a news release. Other salaried employees are taking voluntary salary reductions of generally between 10 and 25 percent during this period.

Welbilt earlier said that the demand for commercial foodservice equipment and aftermarket parts is expected to drop through the second quarter of 2020 and possibly beyond, as restaurants and other institutions with professional kitchens face service limitations. Welbilt has temporarily closed some of its manufacturing plants and laid off about 200 people, the company said.

Lazydays (Nasdaq: LAZY), a Hillsborough County-based RV dealership, has reduced its workforce by about 25 percent. Senior management will forgo 25 percent of their salaries, and 2020 annual pay increases are suspended,  the company said in a news release.

AutoWeb (Nasdaq: AUTO), a digital marketing company that helps auto dealers and manufacturers sell vehicles to consumers, said its CEO, Jared Rowe, has taken a 30 percent salary reduction, and all other members of the executive team have taken a 10 percent reduction.

The company, which moved its headquarters to Tampa last year, also said it has reduced recruitment, travel, consulting and B2B marketing expenses, along with limited employee furloughs and staff reductions.

Coronavirus is expected to cripple U.S. auto sales, CNBC reported.


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