[Click image for bigger view of key language from 1989 proxy]
Al Neuharth and his vintage mug shots have graced prime real estate in USA Today for more than 20 years: The retired chairman and CEO's Plain Talk column appears every Friday in the No. 1 circulation paper, which he launched just seven years before his retirement, in 1989.
That year, Neuharth reached a deal with fellow board members on his retirement package. He agreed to serve as a "consultant and advisor, and as a columnist or commentator, for the remainder of his life,'' says the 1989 proxy report to shareholders; I obtained a copy today under federal open-records law.
"For these services,'' the company discloses in a footnote to the compensation table, "Gannett will pay Mr. Neuharth $200,000 per year for five years and $100,000 per year thereafter."
Now 84 years old, the multimillionaire appears to fulfill his duties with that weekly USA Today column: $100,000 a year -- for life.
But wait -- there's so much more!
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