Parent company reduces Viking workforce by 20 percent (Updated)
Middleby Corp. confirmed Thursday afternoon that it had laid off earlier in the day 20 percent of Viking Range’s 700 employees.
Middleby spokesperson Darcy Bretz said in an email to the Mississippi Business Journal that the cuts were made “from different job classifications across the Viking enterprise.” She said half the layoffs were employees in Greenwood, where Viking maintains its headquarters.
Calls to Viking officials in Greenwood were not immediately returned.
Illinois-based commercial cooking equipment maker Middleby announced the $380 million Viking acquisition on New Year’s Eve last year. Viking founder Fred Carl Jr. told the Greenwood Commonwealth newspaper shortly afterward that he would remain as CEO for the next several years, and that the company would maintain a substantive presence in Greenwood. Viking’s hospitality subsidiaries, including the cooking schools and The Alluvian Hotel, were part of the sale.
About two weeks ago, the Jackson advertising and brand management firm that counts Viking as a client confirmed that it had reduced its workforce while Middleby focused the range maker’s marketing efforts in-house as it examined the overall marketing budget.
The Ramey Agency president Jack Garner said then the firm would still perform external marketing functions for Viking, including a large project in Canada.
Update: Bretz confirmed Thursday night that Carl has resigned, effective immediately.