Friday, July 30, 2010

Tribune proposes severance package for top executives

By Michael Oneal, Chicago Tribune

Tribune Co. proposed paying its top 43 executives a severance package of cash and benefits if they are asked by a new board to leave the company after the media conglomerate emerges from bankruptcy.

The Chicago company, whose properties include the Los Angeles Times, did not put a price tag on the package but said it amounts to 2.5 times salary and bonus for Chief Executive Randy Michaels and 2.25 times salary and bonus for Chief Operating Officer Gerry Spector. Both would be entitled to 24 months of the company's group health benefits.

Nine other top executives, including Tony Hunter, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, would get 1.75 times salary and bonus plus 24 months of benefits. A list of 32 others would get 1.5 times salary and 18 months of benefits.

Tribune Co. filed the plan late Thursday as part of a supplement to its plan of reorganization. The severance agreement would have to pass muster with the large banks and hedge funds that will end up controlling the company. As part of the reorganization plan, the severance arrangement will have to survive whatever opposition might emerge during the plan confirmation process scheduled for late August.

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