Paul Steinle's Missives

Here's one of the so-called "hotline" messages posted in 1988 by then-new UPI president Paul Steinle, who came in with the FNN takeover:

ccccx: TO: upi employees
from: paul steinle
re: 6th management memo
date: march 30, 1988

I am please to report to you that the management team has completed its initial draft of a business plan for upi and that we have decided to move forward with plans to refinance the company. now its time for me to report to you on some of what this will mean for you and the future of upi. there have been some hard decisions. as you know, we have initiated a reorganization and staff reduction plan, but this was necessary for upi to have a future. staff has been reduced by fewer than 150 positions overall, about 14 percent of the company. all departments were affected. we have devised plans to save about $10 million in administrative costs. we have reduced personnel costs about $5 million, and we will deficit finance the rest of the operating costs for this year at about $5 to $6 million.

We are sad that any unipresser needed to be laid off at this time, because it meant that loyal and hard working employees had to be dismissed. but, since the company had seriously considered plans to reduced by as many as 400 employees, i hope you will appreciate the efforts that were made to retain as many employees as possible. faced with the company's $18 million in losses in 1987 and its current rate of $2 million of losses a month in 1988, before reorganization, the company faces no other business choice. those facts don't make the process any easier, but when we consider the prospect of liquidation as an alternative it is clear that by giving the company the chance to survive and prosper, reorganization was a necessary course of action.

phase one of upi's business plan is to stabilize the company and reorganize. phase two is to redirect operations to reach profitability within 24 months. we are going to do this by retaining as many current clients as possible and, after stabilization, by deploying our resources more efficiently to serve our clients better. by demonstrating that our product is improving and at the same time controlling costs, we can make up fiscally sound again. we must regain clients lost in the recent years of management turmoil -- and, by exploring new areas of opportunity, expand our business.

In effect, we are going to reorganize and emphasize what we can afford to do now, and then begin building new lines of profitable business.

our plans for the future of united press international are aimed at creating a new and highly-focused organization, an information company that makes use of extensive technological assets to deliver a new and highly marketable range of products to our clients. upi is no longer just a wire service, it is an information company. and we plan to become a leader.

our strategy calls for upi to become highly market sensitive, to become even more aware of and responsive to our customers. everything we do will be evaluated by our customers. we will continue as a full-service, seven-day a-week, 24-hour-a-day, worldwide news service. we will concentrate our resources in areas where we can produce competitively. we will monitor market response to what we do and adjust our areas of concentration over time as the marketplace indicates what is needed.

we will strengthen our reporting accuracy and dependability by concentrating our reporting resources. we will also put new emphasis on the "people" aspects of the company. we will listen to your suggestions and integrate your best ideas into the operation because, quite simply, you are upi's main asset.

we must recommit ourselves to superior customer service and technical support. our whole operation -- and our customers -- must become aware that we are in the service business.

we will be given new objectives and new tasks. it will not be the company it was. we are going to change the way we do things. jobs will change to reflect new activities and new priorities. and because some of our current activities will no longer be appropriate to our business, some of the tasks that our people have been handling will come to an end.

more immediately, we have to get our financial house in order. unfortunately, this, as i have said, means a reduction in the total number of employees at upi. we have all seen our financial statement, and it clearly indicates that we have to reduce our operating costs before we can begin to grow. we believe that the staff reductions we make now, combined with other operating economies and new operating initiatives will do the job. once we regain profitability, we will grow again. with growth will come new opportunities at upi and new jobs.

how many people will be involved? throughout the organization, there will be a total reduction of fewer than 150 jobs.

now that the accounting department has been able to straighten out the "shoe box" system they encountered where checks reaching as far back as last fall had been written and sequestered away in desk drawers and cabinets, rather than being disbursed, it will move in an orderly fashion to catch up with back insurance payments, expense reimbursements and stringer payments. i expect them to be on a normal schedule within several weeks.

al rossiter and i will be on the road wednesday, thursday and friday to new york, chicago, dallas and los angeles bureaus and then monday to atlanta and boston, to brief staffers there face to face on the new plans.

now that spring is here in the northern hemisphere with blossoms beginning to sprout, there is the opportunity to sense a new beginning for upi as well. that is the spirit in which we must move forward together to make this turnaround a success. together we can achieve that goal, and i know we can succeed if you will join me in the endeavor with the same sense of purpose and commitment that you have demonstrated in the past.

pms. ccccqqe

upi 03-30-88 10:25 acs