Standard Group employees are counting hours to a crucial meeting to be held tomorrow 25th October 2023, where the CEO, Mr Joe Munene, is expected to announce the next phase of restructuring. The meeting comes at a time when a dark cloud hangs over Standard Group, once a successful media house, as financial constrains weigh heavy on its shoulders.
The company is reeling under losses and has not paid employees over the past one and a half months – only managing 30% of the pay for six weeks. Mr Munene took over few months ago and has been tasked with returning the company back on track.
The newspaper section has been struggling to attract advertising lately after commercial department workers went on a go-slow: they lament that while they bring in millions, they are paid only a fraction of their dues.
There’s grumbling at Standard Group that while the company is still making some good cash, most of it is swallowed by debtors, with auctioneers and debt collectors making a beeline at its offices.
“Most workers are wondering why every time there is a collection, auctioneers show up and are promptly paid,” an inside at Standard Group told BT. “Could there be someone subverting the company? This company is messed up.”
By last month, for instance, it is said the TV section led by KTN had raked in Ksh200 million while Radio Maisha had earned Ksh50 million, only for the management to explain out that all the money had been taken away by auctioneers.
It is understood that among the announcement at tomorrow’s meeting will the commencement of a restructuring which includes redundancy and early voluntary retirement. The company hopes further reducing its payroll will cut costs and make it nimble enough for its recovery journey.
Apparently, Standard had been running since 2018 without paying rent for its bureaus, and electricity bills to Kenya Power. Also, it was not remitting statutory deductions to the government, and had accumulated bills for Signet and Pang and other companies that carry signals for its TV stations.