Penton Cuts Staff Hours

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York, NY – Penton Media, Inc. will institute a four-day work week this Summer along with a corresponding reduction in pay for all employees as the company rides out the recession.

A memo distributed to Penton staff April 30 said the move was necessary due to a dismal First Quarter in which advertising revenues evaporated. “We squeaked through the First Quarter thanks to all of your efforts – but the next couple of quarters aren’t looking easy,” Penton CEO Sharon Rowlands wrote.

As a result, she said, Penton would shift to a four-day week from Memorial Day through the week before Labor Day. Most offices will be closed on Friday, although some might take the reduction in blocks of days.

Rowlands’ frank memo explained the reasoning behind the cutbacks. The primary reason was that 2009 was expected to be a rough year not only for Penton but for its customers as well. “There will be pressure on these businesses as customers are forced to cut back all of their marketing spends,” the memo said. “Even some of our strongest shows will show negative growth.”

Rowlands said Penton’s print brands had been “dramatically” reduced in size due to the collapse of advertising, which she called the company’s “Achilles’ heel.” At the same time, online advertising was described as not showing the growth that was hoped for.

Events were still considered the basis of Penton’s strength. “We have some tremendous exhibition franchises that on the whole pulled us through 2008 and contributed a lot of our growth last year,” Rowlands said.

Reach Sharon Rowlands at (212) 204-4200 or sharon.rowlands@penton.com