Companies 'raid' P'tex workers
By Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 9/19/2003 12:00:00 AM
WILMINGTON, DE —
Home retailer Lowe's Cos. and a former accounts receivables manager can claim at least some of the credit for 122 Pillowtex salaried employees being paid their retention bonuses and being kept out of the spotlight.
Pillowtex last week agreed to compromises that downsized the size of its Key Employee Retention Plan following a series of challenges.
The bankruptcy court settlement resulted in substantially reduced bonus payments, if any, and a cut in eligible employees. Pillowtex currently has 400 to 450 employees remaining, more than half salaried.
But it was Pillowtex president Michael Harmon's testimony that may have sealed the deal, at least to keep most of the names private, but at the same time underscored the KERP's value. He testified that Lowe's, in relocating its corporate offices to Mooresville, NC, had already actively recruited Pillowtex IT employees and that a former Pillowtex accounts receivables manager was now working for a Charlotte company that is recruiting nationally.
"It would subject the best of our people to being picked off by other employers," Harmon said. "And we'd be telling them who to go after."
Pillowtex agreed to reveal the terms and bonuses for the top five officers of the company after bankruptcy court judge Peter Walsh indicated he was leaning toward some disclosure.
"I'm aware of other high-profile cases and the criticism" they've received, he said. "So I'm very sensitive that the court is not a party to hiding that kind of information from the public."
The compromise provides that chairman Michael Gannaway; Harmon, the president; Dick Grissinger; senior vp, marketing; Allen Oakley; exec. vp, mftg; and Don Mallow, vp, human resources, disclose their retention and incentive bonuses.
Following the hearing, Harmon immediately disclosed that he and Gannaway would receive $300,000 each in retention payments and 16 percent of the variable incentive pool, if any.
The remaining payments to the others were to be filed with the court this week.
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