Reader's Digest Association, publisher of Reader's Digest and Every Day with Rachael Ray, is slashing 8% of its workforce worldwide, amounting to about 280 people.
CEO Mary Berner says the cuts are part of a "recession plan" that involves five days a year of unpaid time off for all staff in RDA's fiscal 2009 and 2010. The company is also suspending its 401(k) contributions. Despite the cutbacks, RDA says no magazines would be closed as part of the cost reductions, and that it will continue its plans for new launches. The company intends to launch a health title, Best Health, and a DIY shelter magazine called Fresh Home, early this year.
RDA is under pressure to deliver results for its owner, private-equity group Ripplewood Holdings. Flagship Reader's Digest has been particularly hard-hit lately by a decline in pharma advertising. The magazine's ad pages declined 12.8% in the January and February issues.