Herman Miller implements cost-cutting measures

Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 23:41:42-04

ZEELAND, Mich. — A major office furniture maker is taking "a set of actions" to reduce its costs.

The moves by Herman Miller are in response to the "uncertain economic outlook" amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the company today.

Herma Miller said it is reducing "cash compensation" for the majority of its salaried workforce by 10%.

It is also suspending planned compensation increases and cash bonuses for its upcoming fiscal year, ending May 2021.

Certain employer-paid retirement contributions are being suspended too.

The company's CEO, Andi Owen, and executive leadership team will "defer additional levels of salary" for a minimum of six months. This will include an "incremental salary deferral" of 50% for Owen and 15% for the leadership team.

The publicly traded company (Nasdaq: MLHR) is also postponing its upcoming quarterly cash dividend, which was to be paid on April 15, and suspending dividends.

Moving forward, Herman Miller will continue to evaluate "further ways to manage costs in line with reduced revenue levels."

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been carefully considering the right things to do for our people and our company to ensure we have both a healthy employee base and business when we emerge from these uncertain times,” Owen said.

“Just as we entered this crisis in a strong financial position, we are taking immediate actions to reduce expenses and manage liquidity so we can maintain strong financial footing on the other side of it.”

Herman Miller added that it "welcomed back" about 30% of its manufacturing workforce across its West Michigan facilities to support customers engaged in the coronavirus response.

Those customers are in the health care industry, as well as federal, state and local governments.

The company's efforts now include providing front-line health care workers with face masks and shields.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I’d like to thank all our employees for their strength and character during these uncertain times,” Owen said.

“I am proud to be working alongside them, and, as we have demonstrated in the past, I am confident we will successfully navigate this disruption together.”