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Aurora increases executive compensation after layoffs, $3.3B in losses – CBC.ca

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Aurora Cannabis Inc. handed out millions in compensation and salary increases to executives as the company was laying off more than 1,000 workers and reporting billions in losses.

The Edmonton-based cannabis company’s management proxy circular, released this week ahead of the company’s annual meeting in November, shows all six of its named executive officers — a company’s most highly compensated and prominent workers — took home larger salaries or saw a spike in share- or option-based awards and other incentive plans.

For some, the increases for the fiscal year ended June 30 doubled the value of the compensation they received the year prior and tripled what they received a few years ago.

The increases were given as Aurora fell on hard times. The company said this month that it incurred $3.3 billion in losses in its 2020 fiscal year, including $1.86 billion in its latest quarter due to large impairment charges.

It also conducted several rounds of layoffs this year and closed a handful of its facilities as it restructure.

Aurora did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why increases were granted amid turmoil at the company.

Former CEO got $4.8M

Its proxy circular showed former chief executive Terry Booth was rewarded with about $4.8 million in compensation in the company’s latest fiscal year, up from roughly $2.4 million in the year prior and $1.5 million in 2018.

The bulk of that money — $2.1 million — was categorized under the heading “all other compensation” and did not include his roughly $458,000 salary, about $577,500 in share-based awards and more than $1.3 million in option-based awards.

The company agreed in 2018 to give Booth 24 months of his base salary and cash bonus, and any and all unvested equity options in the event that he was terminated without cause or resigned for a “good reason” including after a change of control at Aurora.

Booth, who co-founded the company, stepped down in February at the same time as Aurora announced it was eliminating the positions of 500 staff and taking $800 million in goodwill writedowns.

Executive chairman earned $2.8M

Michael Singer, the company’s current executive chairman, succeeded Booth as interim chief executive, earning him about $2.8 million during the most recent fiscal year.

That was up from his previous $2.1 million and included a salary bump to reflect the increase in responsibilities he took on as interim chief executive

Miguel Martin took over as chief executive in September and did not qualify as an NEO in the company’s latest fiscal year.

On top of Booth and Singer, Aurora’s proxy circular also shows that chief financial officer Glen Ibbott, former president Steve Dobler, chief operating officer Allan Cleiren and chief legal officer Jillian Swainson saw their compensation rise.

The company’s proxy circular says its compensation program is built around motivating and retaining talent and aims to incorporate a balance of short- and long-term rewards and align executives’ financial interests with shareholders.

It says Aurora does not use “outsized or otherwise inappropriately designed” incentive programs, which encourage excessive risk taking, or outsized severance or termination benefits.

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Quibi app to shut down – Entertainment News – Castanet.net

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Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi, is shutting down, six months after it launched with original series and films featuring Anna Kendrick and Sophie Turner.

Katzenberg and his partner Meg Whitman are expected to confirm their decision to wind down the short-form video service this week after speaking with investors, according to Deadline.

The service launched in April just after COVID-19 shut down Hollywood.

Initial pay-to-view items on the service included projects directed by heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Antoine Fuqua, while Kendrick’s series Dummy and Kiefer Sutherland’s remake of The Fugitive became quick hits. The service also produced the Emmy-winning series #FreeRayshawn.

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Quibi is shutting down just six months after launching – MobileSyrup

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Surprise: Quibi is dead.

Quibi, a short form mobile-focused video streaming service that struggled to find an audience amid a global pandemic where many people are working from home, is shutting down, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Given the platform was available for only six months, this makes it one of the shortest-lived streaming services ever.

Several factors likely played into Quibi’s untimely demise, including that a mobile-focused streaming service doesn’t make sense when people are home, that none of its content was really compelling enough to attract returning subscribers, and the fact that you can watch short-form video content on platforms like YouTube and TikTok entirely for free.

It’s unclear what will happen to Quibi’s lineup of celebrity-filled content. The Information initially reported co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also the former Walt Disney Studios chairman, attempted to sell Quibi’s content to Facebook and NBCUniversal, but ultimately failed.

Quibi launched in Canada on April 6th for $6.99 per month for a subscription tier that featured ads and $9.99 per month to remove ads. The platform forged a partnership with Bell that included exclusive sports and news content from CTV News and TSN. Bell’s Quibi initiatives will likely be cancelled entirely. MobileSyrup has reached out to Bell for more information.

It’s also worth noting the report of Quibi’s shutdown comes just two days after Bell Media president Randy Lennox announced that he’s departing the company. Lennox was reportedly the driving force behind Bell’s investment in Quibi.

Quibi allowed viewers to watch content in both landscape and portrait mode. While the platform was initially off to a strong start, it struggled to keep subscribers around after it’s free trial ended. Some reports indicated that Quibi lost 92 percent of its early users following the end of the platform’s free trial.

The service eventually launched apps for Apple TV, Android TV and Apple TV, moving beyond its mobile-focused Android and iOS apps.

Notable content included Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand, a show about a man that rolls ornate marijuana spliffs for celebrities, Bad Ideas with Adam Devine, 50 States of Fright, Chrissy’s Court with Chrissy Teigen and several more.

For a complete list of Quibi’s content, follow this link.

It remains unclear when Quibi will remain operational until or what will happen to users that have paid a subscription fee. MobileSyrup has reached out for more information from Quibi.

Update 10/21/2020 6:43pm: Quibi has confirmed that it’s shutting down in a press release. It says that “following the company’s wind down and satisfaction of all liabilities, the remaining funds will be returned to its investors as specified in the company’s operating agreement. ”

“We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fueled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices,” said Katzenberg in the press release.

Quibi says that it’s working with “legal and financial advisors” to “identify a suitable buyer or buyers for its assets.”

Regarding subscribers, Quibi says that it’s sending out notifications regarding the final date they will be able to access the platform.

Further, Bell says that it’s “in touch with Quibi management and discussing next steps.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal 

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WestJet to start refunding flights cancelled amid COVID-19 pandemic – Global News

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WestJet will be offering refunds to WestJet and Swoop passengers whose flights were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WestJet is the first Canadian airline to provide cash refunds for all flights. It had previously offered refunds for specific flights only, with future flight credit available for the majority of cancelled flights.

Read more:
WestJet offers refunds to passengers with cancelled European flights

In an emailed statement, the airline said starting Monday, Nov. 2, eligible passengers will be contacted “proactively,” a process that will start with those whose flights were cancelled by the airline at the start of the pandemic, starting with trips booked for March.

“The refund process is expected to take six to nine months to work through eligible requests,” WestJet said.

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The airline said it also expects an “administrative backlog” as the process gets underway, and asked customers to be patient, and wait to be contacted rather than contacting the airline themselves.

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Those looking for refunds for trips booked through WestJet Vacations are asked to continue following the process already in place.

Read more:
Airline passengers voice frustrations after WestJet cuts services, refunds with vouchers

“We are an airline that has built its reputation on putting people first,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims said in a news release.

“We have heard loud and clear from the travelling public that in this COVID-19 world, they are looking for reassurance on two fronts: the safest possible travel environment; and refunds.

“We have been delivering on a safe environment through our Safety Above All program since the onset of the pandemic and as of Monday, Nov. 2, we will proactively provide refunds to original form of payment to itineraries cancelled by WestJet and Swoop.”






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WestJet suspends most of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic


WestJet suspends most of its operations in Atlantic Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic

In a blog post on the WestJet website, Sims said the airline has been faced with a 95 per cent drop in demand, adding that for 72 days in a row, cancellations outnumbered bookings — a first in the company’s 25-year history.

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Now, bookings are once again higher than cancellations, WestJet said, but still not on par with what they were before the pandemic hit.

Read more:
Latest WestJet layoffs affect 3,333 employees as COVID-19 cripples airline industry

More than 140 of WestJet’s 181 planes are currently parked, Sims said, and more than 4,000 employees have been laid off.

The airline also suspended its service in Atlantic Canada earlier this month, citing the coronavirus pandemic as making the service “unviable.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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