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News - Garry Betty

For not kissing the EarthLink employees he's screwed

Mindspring was one of those rare companies that won real loyalty, from both its customers and its employees. It did so with a set of core values, the first of which stated: "We respect the individual, and believe that individuals who are treated with respect and given responsibility respond by giving their best."

Sounds hokey, but it worked.

Company founder Charles Brewer, who left after the 1999 merger with EarthLink, recently invited every single former Mindspring employee to a party on May 1 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the company's founding. According to the Evite, 741 invitees will be there. That's a lot of people who actually want to party with their old boss.

Now, let's take a look at what Betty, the current CEO, has done at EarthLink.

Between 2000 and 2003, the company's net income has decreased by 82 percent, according to Hoover's, a business news service.

But Betty was able to turn a profit for the first time in September 2003. One way he was able to accomplish that was by laying off 1,300 employees last year.

In January, Betty announced the company was going to save $30 million by laying off another 1,300 employees.

A spokesman for EarthLink says the layoffs aren't technically layoffs because positions aren't being eliminated. But that's just spin. The truth is jobs will be outsourced to another company — in many cases, a company overseas, but we don't know exactly how many jobs that is. The spokesman says EarthLink doesn't keep specific information on overseas jobs.

Again, that's probably spin. Company accountants would have to know the number of overseas contracts.

But wait, it gets worse. Betty, after laying off 2,600 of EarthLink's 5,100 employees, got a 76 percent increase in his annual bonus this year. That's an extra $346,790 on top of his $621,154 salary. It's a textbook case of the type of undeserved CEO compensation that became the trademark of companies like Tyco and Enron.

So, that's the business model of the New Economy, folks — lay off thousands of employees, outsource their jobs to overseas call centers and give yourself fatter and fatter bonuses.

Isn't autocracy, I mean, capitalism, great?



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