GDH Asks 50 Employees to Voluntarily Retire
posted on by Egan Loo
GDH, the corporate parent of the Gonzo anime studio, has announced on Friday that it is asking many of its employees — "in the range of 50" of them, according to its press release — to voluntarily retire to help restore the company to profitability. Since GDH and Gonzo currently have about 200 employees, this planned reduction would represent about 25% of the workforce. The employees who choose to take advantage of the program between December 1 and December 12 will receive a one-time bonus equivalent to one-month's salary. Their retirement will become effective on January 31. The program applies to GDH and Gonzo employees, but not to those in Gonzo Rosso, an online game subsidiary.
GDH has also announced on Friday that it would sell off its GDH Capital financing subsidiary for 213 million yen (about US$2.2 million). The four-person unit was originally established in 2005 with 300 million yen (US$3 million) in capital.
GDH cites the drop in DVD sales and the need to trim its anime production business for its most recent changes. GDH already announced on November 10 that it would reduce its annual output of anime from about eight projects to four in the next fiscal year and combine its four internal studios under one division. To that end, it plans to reduce its representative director's compensation by half, its board of directors' head count by two (or 30%), and its executive and managerial staff's head count by eight (or 10 to 20%).
Earlier in the fall, CEO Shinichiro Ishikawa, director/chief financial officer Fumiaki Goto, and executive vice president/chief operating officer Yasushi Uchida stepped down, although they remain with the company as vice-president, director, and executive director, respectively. At the time, the Japanese investment company Iwakaze Capital KK finalized its bid to become the majority owner of GDH. GDH has been on notice for possible delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange before this investment.