Safelite president and CEO Tom Feeney announced major company changes today, due to the effects of COVID-19 on the auto glass industry. According to Feeney, the company has experienced unprecedented change brought on by unimaginable circumstances.
“COVID-19 is a major disruption to our business. We are already feeling the gravity of the situation and the financial impact. Demand for our services has dropped significantly,” said Feeney.
Safelite’s business is currently down 55% and it expects business to decline further in the coming days and weeks, according to the notice. Due to COVID-19 Safelite has introduced several changes which include its senior leaders deferring their pay and a portion of their 2019 bonus. According to Feeney, Belron is doing the same across the entire organization with its leaders.
“We have announced role eliminations and furloughs across our business. Due to significant uncertainty around how long this crisis will continue, and with a substantial reduction in workload and staffing needs, we eliminated close to one thousand roles across our business,” Feeney said. “We also furloughed nearly one thousand associates for 120 days. These furloughs are intended to minimize additional layoffs as much as possible and to ensure our associates have continued access to healthcare at this critical time.”
Safelite has also closed its Rio Rancho contact center following New Mexico’s instruction from its Governor, which according to the company impacts almost 1,000 of its associates. “Those associates will ultimately return to work as soon as the order is lifted—or will be furloughed, if we are not permitted to reopen the facility in the coming two weeks,” Feeney said.
Safelite will be paying the health benefits for its furloughed associates for the duration of their leave and all impacted associates are eligible for unemployment. “We intend to reinstate furloughed associates when these hardships pass—and we’re working hard to bring them back as quickly as possible,” Feeney added.
The other immediate company changes include:
- Stopping glass orders and other indirect materials;
- Freezing capital expenditures;
- Canceling TV advertising for the next four months;
- Postponing new store openings;
- Pausing Fit for Growth initiatives;
- Stopping its acquisition pipeline;
- Postponing merit increases, promotions and market adjustments;
- Suspending company 401k matches;
- Delaying planned benefits enhancements, which include parental and family leave; and
- Stopping all hiring.
“Please understand that we are doing everything possible to minimize the long-term effects on our associates,” said Feeney. “We will overcome this adversity and be better for it. How we operate going forward may look different, but we will remain true to our people, our values, culture, Safelite Spirit and our vision.”