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27 March 2020

Accel Entertainment's GC gives up pay as top in-house lawyers are impacted by Covid-19 shutdown

Derek Harmer is sacrificing his full salary to help company shore up finances after suspension of video gaming terminals

An Accel banner on the New York Stock Exchange Building

A banner on the New York Stock Exchange building celebrating the IPO of Accel Entertainment in November 2019 Shutterstock

Accel Entertainment GC Derek Harmer has is sacrificing his full salary in response to the Covid-19 pandemic 

He joins senior legal executives in heavily impacted sectors including travel and hospitality to see their pay cut, including Marriott's legal head Rena Reiss, who has experienced a 50% salary reduction.

Accel’s GC and chief compliance officer Derek Harmer, chief executive officer Andrew Rubenstein, and chief financial officer Brian Carroll are all foregoing their respective base salaries after the Illinois Gaming Board suspended the operation of video gaming terminals in the state until at least April 8. 

Accel places its slot machines and video poker games in bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments across Illinois.

In a regulatory filing, Harmer said the trio had stopped their pay in order to reduce Accel’s projected monthly cash expenses to $2-$3m during the closure to help the company manage the financial impact of the shutdown.

Last week, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered all non-essential workers to stay at home in an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19, following similar orders in New York and California.

According to Bloomberg Law, Harmer owns Accel stock currently valued at roughly $1.11m.

The news comes as a range of companies most exposed to the impact of the virus have announced salary cuts to senior management teams.

Last week, in a call with investors Marriott’s executive vice president and chief financial officer Leeny Oberg announced the salaries of senior executives, who include Rena Reiss, will be reduced by 50%.

Delta, Emirates Group and Santander have all announced reductions in the pay of senior management in recent days as a growing roster of CEOs agree to have their basic pay suspended.

Meanwhile, in the UK, listed law firm Knights said earlier this week it was cutting board member salaries by 30% and of those employees earning more than £30,000-a-year by 10% from the start of next month in response to the crisis.

Further reading on the Covid-19 pandemic

Unprecedented response to Covid-19 is 'testament to legal profession's resilience

US businesses 'clamouring' for guidance on fast-moving Covid-19 crisis, survey finds

Staff welfare, supply chain and privacy: the coronavirus-related issues keeping GCs awake at night

'I have realised how powerful technology now is': an Italian lawyer's take on Covid-19

Coronavirus risk may be unprecedented, but the fundamental principles of crisis response still apply

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