3,300 Shaw employees accept voluntary buyouts, one-quarter of workforce

Shaw Communications says 3,300 of its employees have decided to take a voluntary buyout package — far above the company’s original estimate of about 650.

The Calgary-based company says about one-quarter of its workforce will be departing over an 18-month period as part of a previously announced multi-year transformation of its business.

Among the departures will be chief financial officer Vito Culmone, will be leaving the organization May 4. He’ll be replaced by Trevor English, a 20-year employee, who has been chief strategy officer responsible for business development.

Shaw originally estimated about 10 per cent of the 6,500 eligible employees would take the voluntary buyouts, when they were announced about two weeks ago.

But Shaw president Jay Mehr said Thursday in a statement that “the actual uptake falls within scenarios considered and therefore we expect the business to continue to operate in the normal course with no impact on customer experience.”

It says the company will manage the timing of the departures in an orderly fashion to minimize the impact on the business. In addition, the majority of its customer care, retail and sales employees weren’t eligible for buyouts.

Most of the voluntary departures are in areas of Shaw’s business that can be further optimized through the use of technology and a more efficient service delivery model, the company said.

As a result of the departures, Shaw will incur a $450 million restructuring charge in the second quarter of its 2018 financial year, primarily related to severance costs. Actual payments will be spread over 18 months, starting in April.

“We made the difficult but necessary decision to modernize our wireline and satellite businesses by offering a generous package to those people who helped us build Shaw and chose not to join us in this transformative period of growth,” Mr. Mehr said.

“We thank all our employees for the contributions they have made to this organization and we thank each of them for their dedication to our customers.”

Companies in this story: (TSX:SJR.B)

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