In an internal email to employees last week titled “Strategic Priorities,” WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey talked about efforts to “maximize efficiencies to enable innovation and investment.”
We are starting to see what those efficiencies might be. In the first wave of buyouts following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and the launch of WarnerMedia, “a select group of employees” of one of the company’s most profitable divisions, HBO, have been given the opportunity to leave with retirement packages. The initiative, announced in a company memo on Tuesday, involves people aged 55 and older who have been at the company for at least 10 years. I hear the proposed packages are sizable but not as big as the voluntary buyouts 21st Century Fox offered its longtime employees in 2016
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“In the interest of costs and operating efficiencies, HBO has offered voluntary early retirement packages to a segment of our employees,” HBO said in a statement.
It is unclear why HBO was specifically targeted with the buyouts, but the company has a large number of veteran employees who have been there for decades. Because of the tight-knit family feel among HBO staffers, the memo, which was filled with corporate jargon like efficiencies, hit many of them hard, especially with the age conditions on the buyouts, which raise ageism concerns. For instance, the eligibility for Fox’s voluntary buyouts was based on length of tenure, not only targeting employees above a certain age.
HBO’s buyout program is voluntary and no other divisions of WarnerMedia are impacted at this time, though observers comment that this is likely the first of a number of rounds of buyouts and layoffs in the consolidated company’s pursuit for efficiencies.
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