Shapiro assures employees that jobs and benefits are safe

Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 5:08 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro said in a letter to employees that their jobs and benefits are safe, and that Saturday's bankruptcy filing "is strictly a financial restructuring of our debt and that’s how you should view it and speak about it."

Read more from The Delaware Business Ledger.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:28 PM

Wow, like anyone in his position would say: Abandon ship, me buckos! Forget the bilge pump, man the lift rafts!

"She's brrrrreaking up, Captain!"

-Scott (Star Trek)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:44 PM

I think this was as strategic as any move Shapiro has made since taking on his position. There are stigmas to overcome with bankruptcy and the employees are the first place you want to go to help fight them.


I think it's a smart move for morale, but also to get everyone on the same page about the company lines and public face of the organization while these proceedings move forward.

Last edited by Carrie M., Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:44 PM
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 10:53 PM

I just hope he doesn't have to backpedal on this statement, because then things would look doubly bad-- either he knew he'd have to let employees go and lied, or he had no clue that things were so bad that employees had to be laid off.

Wouldn't you have to consider that somewhere throughout these proceedings some decisions will be made that are beyond the control of Shapiro or the Board? By that I mean judges, arbitrators, or other legal folk are going to expect Six Flags to give up something. They won't (or can't) just come in and say "ta-da! your debt's gone, now go about business as before."

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:09 PM

I'm assuming that the restructuring plan that was "unanimously approved" by their lenders does not include any operational or payroll cuts.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:20 PM

Maybe I'm just being naive and believing what Shapiro is selling about this, but it seems to me that this wasn't really the 'typical' bankruptcy situation. This wasn't a business that was just struggling, struggling, struggling and then eventually threw in the towel and decided to restructure.

It really seems that a strategic process has been in play for a while now and this is just the next piece of that. I want to believe that the very first step was an important one in turning the brand image and profitability around.

It's completely possible that some things can be dictated to SF in this process by the courts and such. But at least SF now has a before and after business product they can show the courts to demonstrate why all of those operating expenses are crucial for success.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:30 PM

Carrie M. said:
Maybe I'm just being naive and believing what Shapiro is selling about this, but it seems to me that this wasn't really the 'typical' bankruptcy situation. This wasn't a business that was just struggling, struggling, struggling and then eventually threw in the towel and decided to restructure.

It really seems that a strategic process has been in play for a while now and this is just the next piece of that.

Seems like a safe bet. I can't believe that everyone forgot about this already:

Six Flags CEO May Get $3 Million Restructuring Bonus

Not only was this the plan, but if it all plays out positively for SF, Shapiro (and others) walk away with a nice fat bonus.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:35 PM

Yeah, I referenced that in the other thread, too. But I think this plan has been in play long before that even. I'm thinking along the lines of it having been part of the vision since Snyder took over and Shapiro came on board.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:37 PM

Oh, I see.

You may be right. You may be crazy.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:57 PM

^You're the lunatic! ;)

Clearly the bankruptcy had to be part of the discussion from day one. A business that deep in debt and can't seem to find any pens with black ink in the accounting department....it was always out there, in the realm of "unless we pull off an absolute miracle...".

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:00 AM
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:13 AM

Oh, don't mind him, Gator. He's lashing out over the joke I made about his Laser Loop experience. It was, after all, perverse and demeaning and a perfect example of how men in this country are just not safe around slightly-younger-than-them women. ;) :)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:18 AM

I coming to your house to protest and I just registered bancarrie.com. ;)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:20 AM

^^LOL, I was continuing Gonch's riff on Billy Joel. It's always fun time in my head.... :)

Gonch, quit messing with my ^arrows^. Now I need to go to Kennywood and resupply! ;)

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:21 AM
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Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:30 AM

Lord Gonchar said:



Seems like a safe bet. I can't believe that everyone forgot about this already:

Six Flags CEO May Get $3 Million Restructuring Bonus

Not only was this the plan, but if it all plays out positively for SF, Shapiro (and others) walk away with a nice fat bonus.

That's what I was alluding to in the other threads, when i got confused and said Snyder instead of Shapiro. At some point last year, they all knew that the BK was the only route. So, after they get over the fact that this investment isn't worth crap, then the next step is "How do we at least all get to stay on the gravy train". You set up a bankruptcy plan, that only you can deliver, which will maximize the most for the creditors, and with the best outcome for the surviving entity. Throw in stay bonuses, success fees, etc, (otherwise talented people will jump ship for more secure jobs) and you can see how bankruptcy can be very lucrative. It's actually not uncommon with "pre-packaged" deals like this. And honestly, if it delivers the best outcome for the most creditors, then it's probably the right path.

I'm not suggesting or inferring anything untoward here, and in fact I think Shapiro has done a good job so far. I also think, that once the debt is gone, and they have that albatross off their neck, they can make the next batch of serious improvements.

I would also be shocked if certain folks along the Lake Erie Coastline hadn't already mapped out a similar path, at least to see what potential roadblocks were there.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:32 AM
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Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:34 PM

CreditWh0re said:

I also think, that once the debt is gone, and they have that albatross off their neck, they can make the next batch of serious improvements.

Hopefully that's not in the too distant future. I'm craving new coaster at SFNE. They need a good wooden coaster real bad.

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