News Execs Rewarded For Their Covid-19 Efforts

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warfelg

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Mar 16, 2016
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This technically reduces the bonus right now by deferring more out to a later date than originally agreed upon. This isn't new bonuses. They aren't getting cash money from SEAS, they're getting stock options.

The optics of the 'value' is far worse than what this actually is.
 
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Nov 30, 2018
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This technically reduces the bonus right now by deferring more out to a later date than originally agreed upon. This isn't new bonuses. They aren't getting cash money from SEAS, they're getting stock options.

The optics of the 'value' is far worse than what this actually is.
The correct move would be to put an indefinite freeze in place on both new and existing bonuses through the pandemic. You can compensate them after the company comes out the other end.

Stock options aren’t free money. Thats equity value that can’t be generated for other needs - e.g. paying other key personnel where cash liquidity limits salary compensation. Yes you can technically dilute the stock indefinitely, but the board won’t keep its job long continuing to do that.
 

warfelg

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I've read on other companies denying new bonuses....I've yet to see anyone other than SEAS do something about existing bonuses TBH.

Yes a freeze would have been better, but they are still being shit on for adjusting what they did in the first place.
 

GrandpaD

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I get it @warfelg . I totally understand this program because I took the time to read the information you and @Jahrules presented.

But the lady that sprinkled powered sugar on funnel cakes, the guy that checked restraints on Apollo, the person in the call center who used to explain why you're still being charged monthly for your season pass DOESN'T. GIVE. A. SHIT.

All they see is some rich guys getting richer while they're still trying to log on to the Unemployment website to get some money to pay rent and buy food. They have zero understanding of the stock market. And you can't expect them to.

The perception is real. Rich guys are getting millions while their employees are kicked into the street. More Orlando news media is picking up the story which is magnifying the horrid PR.

Yes, I understand what's going on. But SEAS timing of this, their smaller "pay cuts" compared to other large amusement park executives and lack of proactively addressing the season pass situation makes me really question if they know what the hell they're doing.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
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Now that some folks have explained the optics of why this happened (to incentivize their unstable executive team to stay onboard during the crisis), this does make more sense.

I think the issue is the timing. Maybe the board could have simply told the executives they’d be getting paid a bonus at a later date, or figured out some way to more quietly incentivize the executives. It sounds like the issue isn’t really the bonuses themselves, it’s how tone-deaf they look to employees and the GP based on the timing of it.
 
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warfelg

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Just as a counter though:
Unemployment compensation in the CARES act may have given those furloughed by SEAS more money per week than they were making when employed.
 

GrandpaD

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Just as a counter though:
Unemployment compensation in the CARES act may have given those furloughed by SEAS more money per week than they were making when employed.
WTF (sorry, this tripped my trigger) does this have to do with the OPTICS of some rich guys getting millions more?

"Hey, funnel cake lady. You're going to make more money being laid off than having to deal with tourists in the park. So, is it ok if I get a million or so over the next two years while you sweat about whether you'll have a job in a few months?"

The two don't go together. We're talking the optics...the perception...of this while thing.
 

warfelg

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I had something more pointed out but I don't think it makes much of a difference. The optics are bad, being laid off and collecting unemployment potentially gives them more than if they weren't, it's not cash payments the board was taking.
 

GrandpaD

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C'mon @warfelg "...it's not cash payments the board was taking". I know that, you obviously know that. But if you're a (better off in your thinking) average laid off worker and you read (from an Orlando TV station) "In total, the committee approved just over $6.8 million in stock awards..." you have zero clue how that's being paid, all you just see the $$$.
 
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Its not just that the optics are bad, its unnecessary to pay out those bonuses. There's no labor market for any of those execs right now, so paying them instead of suspending rhe program was bad tactically.

That stock compensation could be put to better use on strategic hires SEAS may need for opening the park. A biggie is going to be developers to build out any virtual queuing system or other park management tool needed to reopen. Those personnel will often take stock options in lieu of some salary compensation and with limited cash on hand equity is a mechanism to get those services. Instead SEAS is wasting money on the Chief Zoological Officer who has zero other job options for the foreseeable future.
 

warfelg

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Then SEAS needs to get out there and do counter press to show that the reporting was wrong. Half the reason the optics are bad right now is because of how it's being reported.

I was curious and looked it up:
Prudential issued $100million in new stock option bonuses after the pandemic started to top officials while taking government money.
Fairway (a grocer) has used coronavirus to defend giving out $70million in cash bonuses in February to executives for filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy while firing a majority of it's staff.

Yes the optics of what SEAS did isn't great.....but it could be far worse if we broaden the scope of understanding of what's going on right now.
 

warfelg

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That stock compensation could be put to better use on strategic hires SEAS may need for opening the park. A biggie is going to be developers to build out any virtual queuing system or other park management tool needed to reopen. Those personnel will often take stock options in lieu of some salary compensation and with limited cash on hand equity is a mechanism to get those services.
Ooooo, I really disagree with this TBH. Now if it's in house developers still getting paid....maybe you can convince them to take that. But studies have shown (literally just finished this chapter in my business class) that better benefits rarely make up for reduced pay for workers. And if its an outside company that you are contracting or an independent contractor you're bringing on to do this work, they will absolutely want to be paid in cash or salary over stock compensation because it's going to cost them money to do everything necessary. They can't take on that job with stock options with the hope that the stock goes up while they spend money now to do the job.
 
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GrandpaD

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Then SEAS needs to get out there and do counter press to show that the reporting was wrong. Half the reason the optics are bad right now is because of how it's being reported.
Lol. It's certainly more than half. And they're totally screwed if they're waiting for their PR/Marketing team to do something proactive.
 
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Ooooo, I really disagree with this TBH. Now if it's in house developers still getting paid....maybe you can convince them to take that. But studies have shown (literally just finished this chapter in my business class) that better benefits rarely make up for reduced pay for workers. And if its an outside company that you are contracting or an independent contractor you're bringing on to do this work, they will absolutely want to be paid in cash or salary over stock compensation because it's going to cost them money to do everything necessary. They can't take on that job with stock options with the hope that the stock goes up while they spend money now to do the job.
I agree with you in normal times, but a cash strapped company must offer whatever they can to get the job done. If they can't afford 200k salaries, then 100k plus 300k in stock options will be in order. This is typically seen in cash strapped startups, however SEAS has cash problems and may have to be as creative to get necessary support.
 

warfelg

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I agree with you in normal times, but a cash strapped company must offer whatever they can to get the job done. If they can't afford 200k salaries, then 100k plus 300k in stock options will be in order. This is typically seen in cash strapped startups, however SEAS has cash problems and may have to be as creative to get necessary support.
There's a big difference in doing it with a cash strapped startup when you are a company with enough money to afford the hit and doing it with an established company with known cash flow issues.
 

warfelg

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Lol. It's certainly more than half. And they're totally screwed if they're waiting for their PR/Marketing team to do something proactive.
Touche. And no, I'd say at least half is the way it's reported. Look at the article you linked. Very little mention that this was part of a package from 2017, the plan was extended over 3 years, and there's no cash being handed out. That reporting sensationalized what happened to a degree.
 
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There's a big difference in doing it with a cash strapped startup when you are a company with enough money to afford the hit and doing it with an established company with known cash flow issues.
Desparate times call for desparate measures. SEAS can't afford to pay small contractors right now, how can they afford to pay vital personnel they may need to re-open. Barring SEAS getting a loan or being able to issue bonds, paying out in stock may be their only option to stay afloat.
 

warfelg

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Mar 16, 2016
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Desparate times call for desparate measures. SEAS can't afford to pay small contractors right now, how can they afford to pay vital personnel they may need to re-open. Barring SEAS getting a loan or being able to issue bonds, paying out in stock may be their only option to stay afloat.
Then they won't find the contractors to do the work because they'll end up at places that are paying cash.

Edit:
Their best option is to put together a budget for work like that and blind bid out the work to get someone that will match what they are willing to pay.
 
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Nov 1, 2019
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SEAS spent $0.00 on these bonuses.

The bonuses are being paid by issuing new stocks. Essentially printing money. The shareholders are footing this bill; not SEAS.
If they're willing to do that then why not put the money towards keeping as much of their staff as possible. A hand full of executives are less important than 90% of their staff I think.

Also someone said this earlier, where are they going to go right now?
 
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I'm just going to play Devil's Advocate for a moment and argue that these articles (from Behind the Thrills and the Orlando Sentinel) are not misleading.
  1. I don't think you can really fault any news organization for using a direct quote from an SEC filing, regardless if it paints a negative picture of the company.
  2. If this were purely a continuation of the 2017 Omnibus Plan, they would have said that in the SEC filing. Not to mention, there are new executives who have been hired since 2017 (and ones with different titles now), so this seems like a new incentive plan rather than the continuation of an older one. Even as the press release says, this had to be approved by the Compensation Committee specifically pertaining to the pandemic.
  3. All of the articles I'm reading clearly point out that the awards are in stock form, and will not be paid out unless the individual stays with the company. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply didn't fully read through any of these articles.
  4. Being invited to media events should not be contingent upon giving a company positive reviews and looking the other way when they do something wrong. The same goes for BGWFans but that belongs in a different thread.
 
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