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These CEOs Are Forfeiting Their Own Salaries During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the coronavirus ravages much of the retail sector, top executives and other senior leaders at a number of companies have opted to forgo their salaries or receive reduced pay to keep businesses and many of their workers’ jobs intact.

Travel restrictions around the world have forced widespread store closures or significant reductions in operating hours, leading to mass layoffs in industries across the board. Many retailers, from sportswear giant Nike to department store chain Macy’s and clog maker Crocs, have assured employees that they will continue to be compensated. Meanwhile, some C-suite execs have taken the extra step of going without pay for the time being to protect their employees’ financial interests during challenging times.

Here, FN rounds up the retail CEOs who are giving up a portion of their pay to help curb the impact of COVID-19 on their companies.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 19, the Coraopolis, Penn.-based company announced that chairman and CEO Edward Stack and president Lauren Hobart will receive no salary — other than an amount covering their benefits — starting March 29. In addition, EVP and CFO Lee Belitsky’s pay will be cut by 50%. The executives will still be eligible to participate in short-term incentive programs.

What’s more, Dick’s announced reductions in the base salaries of all members of its senior management team. Other salaried employees will also take cuts by graduated amounts, while the board of directors has agreed to a temporary suspension of its retainer fees.

Kurt Geiger

On March 23, FN reported that Kurt Geiger CEO Neil Clifford had suspended his own salary until the brand’s stores are able to reopen again — part of a wider plan to reduce costs to support the business. “If the stores don’t reopen, I don’t have a job anymore anyway,” he said. “I’ve earned a lot in my career, so I can afford to do this.”

The company has also implemented a charity initiative in partnership with Age UK for members of its 2,500-person workforce who are unable to work remotely following the closures of its 55 outposts in the United Kingdom. The program encourages employees to spend some of the time they are not working volunteering to help the “vulnerable and isolated,” including via telephone. In the meantime, all are receiving full pay.

Macy’s

Starting April 1, chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette will not receive compensation, the department store chain announced on March 25. It also intends to reduce pay for its management team, with all those director-level and above expected to take a cut in their salaries next month and “lasting for the duration of the crisis.”

Macy’s added in the press release that it was freezing both hiring and spending, as well as working with its retail associations to assess the impact of the proposed government relief bill, which the House is set to vote on March 27.

Puma

The sportswear giant announced on March 24 that its three top execs — CEO Bjorn Gulden, CFO Michael Laemmermann and chief sourcing officer Anne-Laure Descours — have agreed to waive their April salaries in full. Puma has also announced a 25% reduction in next month’s pay for senior managers, including general managers and directors.

All other employees at the company’s Germany-based headquarters will work only half of their usual hours through April 13, while store associates in the country have yet to resume their duties. However, these workers will be paid their full salaries due to a short-time work allowance from German federal agency Bundesagentur für Arbeit and a voluntary contribution from Puma itself.

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