McClatchy Hopes To Shave 10% Of Workforce Through Voluntary Buyouts

In a memo to staff Friday morning, Craig Forman, CEO of McClatchy Company, noted that 10% of the company’s employees across its newspaper chains would be receiving voluntary early retirement offers.

The voluntary buyouts will be offered to approximately 450 employees via email. The deadline for participation is February 19, 2019. The company states this is a one-time opportunity.

Forman wrote: “In such areas as product, digital audience, digital ad sales, regional and national production and — of course — our journalism, our work as #OneTeam is driving results.  But — as always in a challenging business transformation — there is more to be done.”

He then noted two initiatives meant to move the company toward accelerated revenue potential. They include restructuring the company to target strategic areas and “launching a voluntary early retirement program for qualified colleagues, as we continue to align the size of our workforce to the changes that come with digital transformation.”



As part of the restructuring, the company will take part in “functional realignment.” According to Forman, some of the company’s groups, like finance and “the people teams,” are already organized this way. McClatchy plans to further pursue this mode looking to companies like Google and Microsoft for inspiration. 

Three areas “of strategic importance as key drivers of future revenue” include the creation of an ad revenue council, a newly centralized advertising team “to drive consistency and best practices across each of our sales channels,” and a customer and product team united under the leadership of Scott Manual.

Last August, McClatchy laid off 3.5% of its staff, or nearly 140 employees company wide. The company also took other cost-cutting measures, such as a hiring freeze and requiring senior leaders to take two weeks of unpaid leave.

At the time, Forman stated the company was in better shape than some of its competitors, yet the month before. it had posted heavy second-quarter losses of 9.2% with audience revenue down by 5.7%. Digital revenue, however, was up by 21.8%.

Then, in December, McClatchy’s plans to buy Tribune Publishing fell through, following an issue with antitrust complications.

McClatchy owns more than 30 newspapers across 14 states, including The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Charlotte Observer.

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