Viking layoffs concern Greenwood officials

November 18, 2013 9:01:48 AM



GREENWOOD -- Viking Range Corp. has had another round of layoffs, including some in management, in a move that took Greenwood officials and residents by surprise. 


The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that estimates for the latest layoffs ranged from 25 to 75. Attempts to reach representatives of The Middleby Corp., a Chicago-based company which bought Viking at the end of last year, were unsuccessful. 


The layoffs come less than a year after Viking cut 20 percent of its then 1,000-employee work force. 


At the time, company officials said there would be no further reductions. 


The upscale kitchen appliance manufacturer is a prominent business in Greenwood, and any staff reductions there are alarming to area officials. 


"Viking's more than just a stove company," said Greenwood Councilman Johnny Jennings. "They're the heartbeat of Greenwood as far as I'm concerned, and I hate them to skip a beat. It scares you." 


Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams said she felt Middleby CEO?Selim Bassoul was going back on assurances he made to the community during the first round of layoffs. 


"Time will definitely tell, but so far this second round of layoffs was significant in upper and middle management. (Bassoul) said it wouldn't happen, and here we are," McAdams said. "I'm just disappointed that he didn't live up to his remarks." 


The cuts come in the midst of what has been a rebound year for Viking. Middleby's third quarter earnings report, released last week, showed sales and profits up significantly at Viking over last year. 


Sales for the first nine months ending Sept. 30 were up 10 percent from 2012.