They’re the only ones reaping
Re “Buyout’s bitter fruit,” Business, Sept. 19
As a longtime customer of Harry & David, I’ve enjoyed the wonderful pears many times in spite of the increasing cost per bite. Now I begin to understand why the prices have increased so much in recent years.
Thanks for the excellent story, which is, unfortunately, a familiar one. The apparent recipe? Use highly leveraged credit to buy the company, loot it and walk away from the wreckage, including the employees. The new American way of doing business.
It’s another classic case of how private equity firms destroy prized brands to enrich themselves. Didn’t any of these guys go to business school? Or perhaps they did.
Bruce R. Feldman
To the loyal, hardworking employees of Harry & David:
I feel your pain. It’s not just the downsizing, lost wages and disappearing benefits you’ve had to endure while watching your new bosses collect obscene salaries as the company hemorrhages money.
That’s Corporate America 101. But that demoralizing “Culture Promise” you had to sign? Can this management team really be that condescending and clueless? Well, maybe not so clueless. They’re not bothering to relocate.
Obviously they know exactly where this is going, and it won’t be “delivering happiness” to anyone except themselves in the form of big fat paychecks while they run this venerable company into the ground.
It doesn’t seem quite right to thank you for your disturbing article about the buyout of Harry & David, but what a great example of a major thing wrong with America: greed.
So the new chief executive, making $9.7 million— up from the $1.4 million his local predecessor earned — works from near his home 2,000 miles away, while employees are laid off and pension plans are slashed. The company is on the hook for $20 million in interest a year.
The last thing I want to do is hurt the employees more, but I can’t in good conscience buy anything from a company using those kinds of business practices.