Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bulletin: CEO Dubow earned $4.7 million last year; includes $1.5M bonus after he ordered mass layoffs

Gannett Blog

Gannett paid Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow $4.7 million last year, a sharp increase over the $3.1 million he took home in 2008, the company just disclosed in a regulatory filing.
Dubow's 2009 pay included a bonus of $1.5 million, the filing shows, and came after he engineered record layoffs and other cost cutting across the company.

Gracia Martore, promoted last month to president and chief operating officer, got $4 million as chief financial officer, more than doubling her $1.4 million in 2008. Her 2009 bonus: $950,000, this morning's filing shows.

The figures, disclosed in the annual shareholder's proxy report, came after Gannett shed more than 6,000 jobs during the year through cuts that included a broad layoff in July.

The company also imposed two rounds of furloughs and a one-year wage freeze for employees in the U.S. newspaper division and elsewhere.

Combined, those moves helped drive Gannett's stock to yesterday's close of $16.78 from a 2009 low of $1.85.

Martore's big pay increase was foreshadowed last month by a 50% boost in stock options granted to her by the board of directors over what she got a year ago. That followed the board's decision earlier in the month to promote her to president and COO -- a reward for her role as the prime architect of the cost-cutting drive that pulled the company from the brink of bankruptcy.

The company also disclosed annual pay for three other top executives in the document's summary compensation table:

Bob Dickey, president of the U.S. newspaper division: $1.9 million, including a $410,000 bonus

David Hunke, publisher of USA Today: $1.9 million; bonus: $355,000

Chris Saridakis, the chief digital officer: $1.3 million; bonus: $330,000

With her promotion last month, Martore got a $250,000 raise in her annual base pay, to $950,000, effective this year, Gannett disclosed at the time.


It is easy to reduce operating costs by cutting staff, cutting wages and benefits on the remaining employees, and degrading the quality of your product. Such behavior is neither innovative nor sound long-term financial thinking. It is certainly not worthy of giant executive bonuses.

It would be far more impressive if Gannett's management team had been able to turn the company around and revive the stock price through creativity, innovation, and increased shareholder value by increasing the demand, and resulting sales, for their product. Now that would have been bonus worthy. - Bob D

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