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Aurora Casket Denies Layoffs, Calls ConnectingDirectors.com Gossip

On July 2nd we broke the news that Aurora Casket Company had been sold to private investment firm Kolhberg and Company. Aurora provided great information to ConnectingDirectors.com during this acquisition, including an interview with new CEO Michael Quinn.

On July 27th we reported that we had been told by multiple sources that Aurora Casket had handed out pink slips to sales force and regional managers and that remaining personnel are predicting more cuts are on the way. Before that article went online we asked for comment from Aurora Casket, just like we did last week when there were reported Batesville Casket layoffs, but no comment was given by Aurora Casket.

After the news had been published we did receive a phone call from The Eisen Agency, who represents Aurora Casket, but still no comment would be given about the reported layoff. They did however send us a press release that announced “Strategic Additions”  but still no comment on the reported layoffs.

On Wednesday, August 8th a Lawrenceburg, Indiana radio station website posted the article “Aurora Casket Denies Layoff Reports“. In the article a representive of the Eisen Agency (who is representing Aurora Casket) calls reports on ConnectingDirectors.com “gossip” despite the fact that numerous former Aurora Casket employees have contacted the radio station confirming the layoffs (see next article snippet below). Here is a portion of the article:

There are reports that employees are being laid off at Aurora Casket Company.

Funeral industry publication ConnectingDirectors.com reports it has received e-mails that sales people and regional managers have been given pink slips recently.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Aurora Casket is debunking the report.

"Unfortunately, the article you have referenced does not have any factual information in it and the company will not comment on gossip and innuendo," said Caitlin Donatini with The Eisen Agency.

On Thursday, August 9th the same Lawrenceburg, Indiana radio station website reported:

Aurora Casket Company says it has not had any layoffs by its new ownership, a private equity firm based in New York.

But, employees are saying that is not true.

An Aurora Casket spokesperson said Wednesday a ConnectingDirectors.com report of layoffs were not accurate and the cuts have nothing to do with new ownership group Kohlberg & Company.

Several current and former employees of Aurora Casket have since reached out to Eagle 99.3 to say there have been workers given pink slips. According to different accounts, Aurora Casket may have laid off between 15 and 20 employees on or about July 25.

"You ask just how do I know? Because I was one of those people. There was management positions laid off, sales reps and sales managers," one former employee said, asking to remain unnamed.

Funeral industry publication ConnectingDirectors.com has also reported that salespeople and regional managers for Aurora have been laid off recently.

There you have it, another source who is quoting employees who got laid off.

So, we have to ask: Should we change the ConnectingDirectors.com tagline to “Daily Funeral Industry Gossip?”



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  • Ryan Thogmartin

    Perhaps the problem is that you’re simply using conflicting terminology from that of the new Aurora ownership? The term “layoff” implies negative undertones toward the company’s financial state or even a lack of work for their people. Kolhberg & Co never denied that staff members were let go, they simply stated that no one was laid off.
    My bet is that Quinn just chose to cut some dead weight (no pun intended), and bring in some new talent to lead the company now that he’s taken the reigns. Think about it logically with me for a moment… Give the guy a few weeks to evaluate the upper & middle management staff, determine the weak links, and replace them. Terminating 15-20 people one day, then announcing strategic additions not long after is about as obvious as a gets.
    But the issue remains, a layoff instills fear whereas a fresh batch of new blood to run certain aspects of a company drives progress.
    Oh, and to answer your question: No, you shouldn’t make that your tagline, but perhaps you should consider having a T-shirt printed that says, “My name is Ryan, and I’m hyper-sensitive about being accused of running a gossip column” 🙂

  • Diggggger

    Seems to me that Kolhberg or rather their PR machine has lost control of their message. Surely they knew that funeral service, although large, is really a small group of professionals that talk and network among themselves quite significantly. To put out that “no layoffs” occurred is a joke, they simply didn’t spin it like Batesville did when they released their company statement with their own layoffs. Kolhberg can do whatever they want with Aurora, but to think any move them make won’t be watched and analyzed my funeral professionals who may or may not be buying from them is short-sighted on their part and lacks a grasp of what funeral service is all about. If I were doing business with these folks, I would absolutely be entertaining other options.

  • BodyBurner

    I just watched a documentary on how corporations blatantly lie to keep face. They have a habit of thinking the American public are a bunch of fools. It all comes down to greed and highly paid executives out of touch with reality.

  • ACE

    Way to go Ryan. Sticking to your guns and having the back-up info to prove your story.

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