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Big Layoffs Hit Loss-Making Standard Group

In the half-year ended 30th June 2023, the company recorded a net loss of Ksh102.9 million

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Standard Group CEO Joe Munene has announced new redundancies at the company, with several workers including journalists set to lose their jobs.

In an internal memo seen by Business Today, dated September 1st, the company disclosed its plans to announce redundancies affecting employees “across several departments” within the next month.

In the half-year ended 30th June 2023, the company recorded a net loss of Ksh102.9 million, an improvement from the Ksh300 million net loss it posted in the same period in 2022. The continued poor performance had driven expectations among analysts of increased cost-cutting measures including staff rationalization.

According to Standard Group, the move is necessitated by the company’s ongoing restructuring intended to build a leaner, more efficient business. The company also cited the impact of shifting media consumption trends driven by social media and digital tools.

The company sought to assure affected employees that the process would comply with relevant laws, further offering them free counselling and financial management training.

Affected employees will be entitled to; payment for days worked until date of exit, severance pay of 15 days (or as indicated in the collective bargaining agreement for union employees), payment for accrued leave days not taken at time of exit, notice pay as per the contract, and pensions and gratuities as laid out in the scheme rules or employment contract.

Like other legacy media companies in Kenya, Standard Group has seen its earnings shrink as it struggles to keep up with a fast changing media consumption landscape. Newspaper circulation and TV viewership numbers in Kenya have been on the decline, hitting some of its biggest revenue streams.

Long-serving CEO Orlando Lyomu, who had led an aggressive, expensive expansion in the broadcast space, was ousted from the company’s helm this year as its fortunes deteriorated, and was replaced by Munene, a media veteran formerly at rival Nation Media Group (NMG). Prior to being appointed CEO, Munene led Standard’s broadcast division.

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