Letters to the Editor

Weathering the Downturn

Your update on Korn/Ferry (Corporate Focus, Jan. 7) failed to capture the real story at Korn/Ferry. As a result of a major restructuring announced last August, we took an $84 million charge against earnings, reduced our workforce by 20 percent, closed unprofitable operations and wrote off acquisition costs. As you reported, these dramatic actions put us in breach of two of our loan covenants, but this was neither unexpected nor alarming.

Since that time, we have weathered the dramatic economic and emotional impact of Sept. 11, announced a new management team and global strategy and continue to take cost out of our company. As a result, our cash continues to exceed our debt, we are beginning to see an uptick in our business and the reaction on Wall Street has been positive. Despite your concerns about the information released in our 10Q filing, our stock today is up 59 percent from its post-Sept. 11 low in late October.

In addition, the Department of Transportation announced recently the signing of a major contract with Korn/Ferry to find and place security directors for 81 of our nation's airports. Far from being in "peril," we are excited and confident that we have weathered one of the worst downturns in the history of the industry, are beginning to see momentum in the marketplace and that we remain extremely well positioned not only to continue our leadership role but to advance it in the months ahead.

Paul C. Reilly
Chairman and Chief Executive
Korn/Ferry International
Los Angeles

Healthy Design

Between the increasing cost of healthcare, Gov. Davis' newly proposed nursing regulations and the Senate Bill 1953 requiring mandatory structural upgrades, some hospitals are poised to go out of business or at least be seriously challenged to stay in the black.

However, hospital administrators can use SB1953 as an opportunity to work with their architects to improve staff productivity, increase patient satisfaction, deliver a higher quality of care and improve the hospitals' bottom line while satisfying the required regulations.

Many staff members are forced to work within the confines of aging facilities with inefficient layouts designed for standards of care created more than 20 years ago.

Jason Haim
Associate Principal
Lee Burkhart Liu Architects
Santa Monica

Rapid Advance

Bravo! Why did it take this long? Every major city in the U.S. has a bus lane ("MTA Plan Calls for Taking Away Wilshire Car lane for Rapid Bus," Jan. 7). While MTA officials are at it, do the same for Santa Monica Boulevard, Fairfax Avenue, LaBrea, Pico, Olympic and Beverly boulevards.

I commend the transit officials I must say, once they put bus lanes only in place, the Rapid bus will then deserve the name RAPID.

Valdemenia N. Williams
Los Angeles

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