Winn-Dixie seeks incentive pay for execs

Sept. 1, 2005
Jacksonville FL-based Winn-Dixie Stores Inc has asked for the go-ahead to pay its executives almost $14 million in retention bonuses and laid-off workers

Jacksonville FL-based Winn-Dixie Stores Inc has asked for the go-ahead to pay its executives almost $14 million in retention bonuses and laid-off workers up to $120 million in severance benefits.

The supermarket chain said this would give key management personnel an incentive to remain with the company during its Chapter 11 reorganization, according to a bankruptcy court filing.

About 290 employees would be be given bonuses ranging from 25% to 150% of their salaries, to be paid in three installments, as part of the retention plan.

Not receiving a retention bonus would be Peter Lynch, Winn-Dixie's president and chief executive officer, though he would be eligible for a severance payment of triple his base salary plus a target bonus.

Qualifying for a severance package would be employees working for at least 60 days before their termination “without cause.” Roughly 28,000 full-time employees would get a week's salary per year of service, up to six weeks' pay. About 45,000 part-time workers would receive $200 if they worked for Winn-Dixie more than a year, or $100 if less than a year.

Severance payments would amount to $120 million under a “worst-case scenario in which all stores are closed and all executives and employees are terminated,” ‘the filing said. “The debtors do not contemplate that such a worst-case scenario will arise.”’

The supermarket chain also requested to extend to Oct 19, 2005, the deadline for filing its reorganization plan.

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