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Blockbuster Layoffs, Antioco Compensation

31 Mar, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

As many as 300 Blockbuster Inc. staff may lose their jobs by the end of April in a cost-reduction effort by the chain, a company spokesperson confirmed today.

As previously reported (HMR, March 27 – April 2), the company was preparing to reduce costs in a number of areas in anticipation of planned 2005 expenditures in new company strategies, such as its online initiatives. The job cuts would come from “above store-level” staff primarily in the company's Dallas and McKinney, Texas, headquarters.

“We're still in the process of each department looking at its budget, and we won't be finished with this process for another four weeks or so,” said Karen Raskopf, SVP, corporate communications. About 30 percent of those job cuts would be in budgeted positions that have yet to be filled, she said.

The company is looking to spend as much as $70 million this year to upgrade and expand its online initiatives, Raskopf said. “Our goal is to transform Blockbuster … and we're investing in initiatives that bring more value to our customers, but at the same time we need to reduce our costs structure and operate as a more efficient retail operation,” she said.

Meanwhile, the company also reported that chairman and CEO John Antioco earned a total compensation of approximately $7.2 million in 2004, excluding the granting of stock options and restricted stock awards. The company said Antioco also received a restricted stock award valued at approximately $26.8 million for 2004. Antioco also received 5 million stock options in 2004.

The terms of Antioco's compensation have been reported in earlier regulatory filings, Raskopf noted.

“We feel that Mr. Antioco's compensation package is appropriate because it is based on long-term employment and significant stock appreciation going forward,” Raskopf said.

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