Society

20-Something CEO Of Benjamin Moore Freezes Pensions

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Pensions were frozen as layoffs continue at the 130-year-old paint brand Benjamin Moore, owned by billionaire Warren Buffet.

The company’s 29-year-old CEO Tracy Britt Cool is accused of nixing veteran employees to hire young workers for less money, the New York Post reported.

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Buffet fired a former CEO and installed Cool, a former financial assistant and Harvard graduate, last year.

“Tracy is remaking the company into her own image — a kid’s image,” a former executive told The Post. “She’s eliminating all the incentives for company veterans to stay so she can hire a bunch of kids to replace them on the cheap.”

“They’re laying them off in waves in the spring, and they’re being forced [now] to train the people that are going to replace them,” one source said. “This is the new culture.”

Employees at the Montvale, N.J., offices of Benjamin Moore were informed last week that their pensions will be frozen in February.

“This change more closely aligns the program with our business objectives and trends that exist in the marketplace today,” executive vice president Talia Griep told employees in a Dec. 13 memo.

In 2012, the plan was in arrears of $85 million, the source said.

“The whole department was antiquated, and that’s because it had been neglected for years,” a former exec said. “The only thing people at the top spent money on was enriching themselves and paying that dividend to Warren Buffett.”

In October, Buffet told CNBC that the paint company was “making a lot of money.”

“That’s not what they’re telling us come payday,” an angry employee told the Post.

The company recently released an app that allows you to take a picture of a room and then try out 3,500 different color paints on the walls. Their Adweek spooky hotel stunt went viral in October, despite seeming completely unrelated to paint.

Sources: NY Post, CS Monitor