Calling BS: Krispy Kreme restructuring

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Corporate-speak is the Orwellian practice of taking a setback and refashioning it into something that seems like advancement. It’s never an outright lie, but rather a clever ordering of discrete facts that are all true in and of themselves in order to create an impression that’s misleading.

Usually, the bad news is subsumed — or sugarcoated, to use a term that’s a little too on the nose — under a gloss of emotional manipulation. For example, Krispy Kreme’s blunt announcement last week that 90 people in Winston-Salem will lose their jobs came swaddled in the gauzy promise that the corporation is on a “journey” to “transform into a global company that delivers joy around the world to every guest in every community shop” and a pledge “to create the most awesome doughnut experience imaginable.”

The careful ordering of facts casts a spell to create the intended impression of a local company committed to its hometown while it pursues global ambitions to deliver shared prosperity to its employees. But breaking apart the facts and reassembling them in their logical sequence reveals the fundamental conceit in the company statement: “We will maintain our global headquarters in Winston-Salem.” Basic logic dictates that it can’t be true that a company that is shedding employees locally while “transform[ing] into a global company” is retaining its headquarters in the location where it’s eliminating positions. The more significant information appears to be housed in the informally phrased admission that the company is “creating new work spaces that reflect our ambition, which will include new offices in Charlotte and London in 2018.”

The apparent shift is corroborated by statements from anonymous sources who have told the Winston-Salem Journal “that senior management, marketing, training, construction and design headquarters employees would be among those moving to Charlotte or being hired there.”

What’s left is an illusion of Winston-Salem as Krispy Kreme’s headquarters; a quaint Southern city with a Moravian heritage would seem to be an essential part of the brand for a company founded in 1937. But the reality is surely a global corporation based for all intents and purposes in Charlotte and London, with back-office support functions like finance, IT and equipment maintenance in Winston-Salem.

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