Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bulletin: CEO Dubow paid $3.1 million for 2008; awarded $875K bonus, despite 79% stock plunge

But Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow's total compensation was slashed more than 50% from 2007, the company disclosed in its much-anticipated annual proxy report to stockholders. Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis emerges among Gannett's five highest-paid executives: He got $1.1 million, including $500,000 in base pay, plus a $260,000 bonus, the report shows. (Summary compensation table.) Brief iPhone post; will update. Please post your comments, below.

96 comments:

  1. And, at the same time, Dubow imposed a salary freeze on his employees and an across-the-board furlough which will result in lower salaries for all the workere bees. How outrageous is that? Wow.

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  2. Really???

    If the stock drops another 79% in 2009, does he still as much in 2009?

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  3. After all, Dubow said he feels our pain and we need to be nimble.

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  4. So allowing for $1 million CEO compensation and assuming the average Gannett employee makes $45K, that means 45 of us were let go so Dubow could get compensation way beyond what is reasonable.

    Hello AIG!

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  5. What was the criteria for his bonus?

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  6. If the company has that kind of money to throw around, it sure as heck does not need training grants and tax abatements. Outrageous.

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  7. Outraged? Then stockholders should vote to WITHHOLD their votes on the eight nominees for board of directors. We should try and get the money market funds holding GCI to join employees in this protest.

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  8. If a 79% stock plunge spells success, what's the difinition of failure?

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  9. As a long-time employee of this company, I am outraged. This is disgusting and immoral conduct at a time of such widespread hardship and sacrifice by others.

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  10. What's that work out per hour?

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  11. At least he didn't get 7 million like last year...And he got, I think, 500 million shares of Gannett's worthless stock. That stock bonus shows his value to the company — WORTHLESS!

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  12. The compensation committee on the Board needs to be kicked out. Why don't the workers just overthrow the management?

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  13. Don't forget that he had the audacity to direct Gannett Foundation funds into charities exclusively using his own name too.

    His actions, and the suits that behave just like him, speak louder than anything they could ever say.

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  14. 5:30 Read the proxy. http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/sec/filing.asp?Symbol=GCI and read p. 24.
    It is for reducing GCI's cost structure. In other words, it is for Dubow's efforts in laying off and cutting the payroll with furloughs, etc.
    It also says he hired Saridakis, who headed up digital operations in GCI bringing in $1 billion in revenues, if existing newspaper web sites are included. But the proxy also admits Saridakis didn't make his goal in 2008.
    This has to be the most outrageous proxy I have ever read.

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  15. It is outrageous! It shows how much he cares about those of us who are still struggling after years of loyalty to our paper and our profession.

    I would quit if I didn't have a mortgage and my kids' college to consider.

    If we were really unbiased this would be our biz cover papers.

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  16. Wonder what he gave up for Lent?

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  17. Pigs at the trough. Here we are slaving double-time to get stories and fill pages with less staff, and the suits pig out once again, and award each other lavish benefits. I vote Republican, but count me with Barney Frank and Sen. Dodd on imposing confiscatory taxes on executive bonuses. I also note the Fort Worth paper is considering seceding from MNI. I am in favor of launching a campaign for us to secede from GCI.

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  18. Noticed that they paid Dickey $245,000 for the loss he incured on his home in Phoenix, $90,000 relo bonus on top of the $245K for a total take of $335K

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  20. $90,000 for relocation, Bob? Come on, did you forget to return the U-haul dolly? Can we get some of that back if you buy them a new one?

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  21. Just the BONUSES for those two people (not their base pay) would pay for one year's salary (at my pay level, which is why I work a second job) for 106 people.
    106 people's jobs could be saved if they didn't give out those bonuses. 106 people's families wouldn't have to suffer not being able to afford rent payments or mortgage payments.
    106 people!!
    If they announce layoffs later this month, I could be one of those 106 people.
    This is bullshit.

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  22. I think it was yesterday...or maybe the day before when a poster said the proxy would come out today and furloughs would be announced by the end of the week. That person seemed credible with times and dates.

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  23. Executives who run their corporations into the ground should not be rewarded like this. That's what Sen. Chuck Grassley said about AIG, but it applies to GCI as well. I cannot understand how in this climate the board of directors would have considered any bonuses. Revenues are down, profits are down, and it is clear that Dubow has made GCI founder.

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  24. This is a total disgrace, but remember, the emperor stands there with no clothes on, and his eunch's march on!

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  25. Go have a green beer. Bonuses were paid last year and bonuses will be paid next year. Get over it. Happy St. Pat's Day!!

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  26. Erin Go Brah!

    Jim,
    Who cares about this? Big deal. This IS America, correct?

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  27. Dickey needed to insure and move his Golfing Trophy

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  28. I keep hearing the announcement about 1 to 2 more weeks of furlough will be announced tomorrow along with the possibility of additional layoffs too. Does any one know of this to be true about tomorrow being the day? I know my paper is like a freaking ghost town with the silence being deafing at times.

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  29. There were tons of closed doors at my office today too. It could just be normal business but I don't think so. Does anybody have anything sourced about furloughs or layoffs?

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  30. I see Mr. Moon is not a top five executive. What happened?

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  31. One word for it. Immoral.

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  32. (1) Dubow shouldn't have gotten a penny as a bonus this year. His company is in shambles, failing by almost every business indicator.

    (2) Furloughs and layoffs are coming - one or the other. The economy hasn't magically improved since December. What does it matter exactly when they're announced? We're all fucked.

    (3) Except for Dubow, who's living large.

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  33. Sadly I have to agree with Anoymous 6:52

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  34. This is SO disgusting and offensive, it reminds me of a scene in Schindler's List.

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  35. ATTENTION TIM GEITHNER:
    CLAWBACK DUBOW'S BLOOD MONEY!

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  36. Don't forget to claim unemployment for your furlough days!

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  37. I actually did my job for Gannett successfully in 2008, and I just got a pay cut.

    This Doodoo clown sent the company down the toilet and got almost a million-dollar bonus? And something like $3 million in total compensation?

    WTF??? This is why the terrorists are winning.

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  38. Screw you, 6:39. Spoken just like an executive compensation committee member. Why don't you go have a stupid green beer?

    Executive bonuses might continue to be paid, but we will voice our outrage about the undeserved compensation when it happens.

    Move along if you don't like what you see here.

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  39. I honestly think Dubow feels his 50% cut from 2007 was the ultimate sacrifice. He's as pathetic as all the rest of the CEO's that get exorbitant salaries when their stock is down or in the toilet.

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  40. Anyone have any information as to what may be going on at The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fl tomorrow?

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  41. He's an absolute piece of crap.

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  42. What do the number 1 and number 2 institutional investors think about this?

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  43. I got this right off the Gannett website "Now is an exciting time at Gannett. The media industry is changing daily and we are changing with it. There is a universe of opportunity in that change. Come help us explore new ways to transform and grow!" What a joke!

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  44. What a waste.

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  45. I ask you, for all of Gannett's reporters, who will have the courage to report about this honestly?

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  46. I smell class warfare on this blog. Obama is rubbing off on you!

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  47. I'm all for paying execs well when they perform well we all win. When they fail we all fail. When they fail they need to be replaced. This is 101.

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  48. @6:29 - by your reasoning, you should give up your salary so that poor Cuban children can eat. You could probably save 106 for an entire year. have a nice revolution...

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  49. Barf in your green beer, 6:39. We did not have furloughs when the bonuses were distributed last year, and we were not in the middle of a deepening recession with GCI abandoning the Tuscon paper and turning Detroit into a Web product. This is not a time for business as usual. They are raping this company.

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  50. You're supposed to get a bonus when you do something good.

    What good has Dubow done?

    I guess the company is still standing, not bankrupt yet, so that's good.

    But by that measure, I want a bonus for not pooping on the bathroom floor.

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  51. Look at the goodwill impairment/write down. This company does not have a clue.

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  52. I want to say something profound, but you folks have already nailed it. Pigs at the trough. Immoral. Waste.

    This country needs more people with pitchforks.

    And, basically, unless you're willing to quit, you're pretty much powerless to do a damn thing about it.

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  53. Wow -

    A couple of thoughts.

    The work force has to be trimmed. The reality is that circulation continues to go down and down. To continue those levels of employment would be irresponsible.

    His overall compensation is down more than half of what he was paid in 2007. Seriously - who else in this company took that severe of a hit. Personally my furlough was only 1/52nd of my pay.

    Compare his compensation against other CEO's for companies of this size. His is fairly low.

    Take a look at the stock prices for all the other companies in this business. They are all down. That's because NEWSPAPER PRINTING IS A DIEING BUSINESS!!!

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  54. Class warfare? Where have you been? There's been a war going on for some time, and we ain't winning.

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  55. 7:30: Something just plain wrong is made public and all you got is class warfare? There wasn't some other talking point you could pull out?

    Socialism maybe? Or if Dubow gives up his salary, the terrorists will have won?

    Reasonable people can be angry that their industry is circling the drain, and that a misappropriation of funds is hastening the demise. I'm afraid a hollow charge of "class warfare" isn't much of a defense against the lions at the gate.

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  56. 7:37 -- By your reasoning, all the companies should be sold for scrap metal and Dubow should get the proceeds. There does seem to be some reasonable level between no salary and all the money. Based on the company's performance, I'd say Dubow did outrageously well. Care to argue with that?

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  57. I'm puzzled by how little mention there is of Newsquest in this report, and why Paul Davidson's pay is not listed this year. Can anyone explain?

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  58. By the way, it's no longer called a furlough.

    They're Dubow Appreciation Days.

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  59. 8:33pm

    All of the people he had fired got less than 50% of their pay, that's who. Seriously!!

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  60. The immoral bonus culture continues in this country...despite the lessons we should have learned this past year. AIG derivative traders get bonuses for losing $40B and forcing the largest taxpayer bailout to date. And Craig Dubow gets his bonus for leading a company whose stock price is down 79% in a year. If we reward failure like this...what should we do for those who actually contribute something positive???

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  61. Does anyone know if they have a web only plan?

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  62. In the words of Senator Charles Grassley: Resign or go commit suicide.

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  63. Anonymous said...
    By the way, it's no longer called a furlough.

    They're Dubow Appreciation Days.

    3/17/2009 8:48 PM

    I dont think anyone could have said it better.

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  64. And they act shocked when no one trusts them or believes a thing they say. We need inspirational leaders to get us out of this mess not the spineless parasites that we have. The hundreds of people that have to be laid off to pay their bonuses would do more for the stockholders then these jokers. I don't know how they can look any of us in the eye any more.

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  65. These dipsticks like Dubow have all of their compensation in contracts. The bad part is they are based on performance, and that performance is decided by dollars. If they are not going to hit those amounts by bringing in more revenue they need to find a way to still meet it. And voila when you are the CEO you have that power called layoffs and furloughs, which can impact that bottom line and get those numbers right in line with that bonus margin. It's obscene that these losers even have jobs for guiding this company down the toilet. Blame the economy, go to hell and make your lame excuses there. At least now business schools have some good case studies on how not to run a company.

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  67. Why did Saridakis get a bonus if he's on the long term digital improvement plan structure? If I'm reading that right, it looks like nothing is to be paid until 2012.

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  68. Moon is gone! I think he is basically out the door!

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  69. Dipshits...You are all losers. Stop complaining about what the CEO is making and start worrying about how you are going to pay your rent when you get fired!

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  70. Facts:

    1. Furloughs are in the works. Announcement next week, not this week. One week definitely...Two weeks probable.

    2. Tara Connell is alive and kicking from what I hear. She has not been thrown out as someone on this blog stated yesterday. Everyone is waiting for Dubow to announce her rise in stature.

    3. Layoff's are coming and they will be rather large (3,000 to 5,000). Plans are being worked on as we type!

    That's all the news fit to print from your friendly community newspaper :)

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  71. I cringe to think how much the bonuses for REST of the GCI execs were.

    Would any of these guys have the grace or the guts to decline their bonuses????

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  72. Status Quo still in effect?

    C'mon. The people who got you into this mess are not the people who will turn it around.

    Am I missing something?

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  73. I bash Gannett all the time and I really was quite surprised by DuBow's 50 percent paycut. I was more shocked that he took that kind of a pay cut. Being a CEO isn't a normal job, not that any job is really a normal job.

    This is a big sacrifice on his part. He's trying to show everyone that he gets it. There should at least be some understanding for that. Did everyone really expect him to take a 100 percent pay cut? He's not dumb; he's getting his money out of Gannett and he knows it's sinking fast in the quicksand.

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  74. You're right, 9:55. It's an incredible sacrifice. You can hardly buy a decent wardrobe for $3.1 million these days.

    Are you serious?

    I've got an idea: Tie his salary increase to the stock. He should have taken a 79 percent hit like everyone else.

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  76. This is disheartening...we're not allowed to purchase needed office supplies unless it's a do or die situation until April...but the company found enough money for executive bonuses as the company tanks...if it wasn't for us worker bees they wouldn't even have a job!

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  77. We need to make people accountable. What about the General Managers, NSMs, LSMs? If these people claim to know it all we should be persevering through these tough times. With all the unemployment out there. Many of these stations and newspapers, (why are we still printing?) should clean house and find the best of the best.

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  78. Did anyone out there get half of their normal bonus for last year? It seems as though if the top execs still recieved a bonus after such a pitiful performance, then so should the rest of us.

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  79. We need to make people accountable. What about the General Managers, NSMs, LSMs? If these people claim to know it all we should be persevering through these tough times. With all the unemployment out there. Many of these stations and newspapers, (why are we still printing?) should clean house and find the best of the best.

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  83. Yo, Jim. I thought you were screening out thiese juvenile posts.

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  86. 9:55 -- I know your thoughts are well-intentioned, but there's a big difference between someone who is making $7 million a year taking a 50% pay cut and someone who is making $50,000 a year doing the same.

    I think employees are right in being angry. A CEO who feels entitled to take a bonus of nearly $1 million while sending hourly employees to the bread line lacks both integrity and compassion.

    I understand that Dubow inherited a problem in Gannett, but considering the miserable dive it's taken under his leadership I don't see how he can justify any bonus. The argument for ridiculously high CEO compensation is that you have to shell out these outrageous bonuses to attract people bright enough and talented enough to succeed in a difficult job. The flaw in the reasoning, of course, is that Craig Dubow has not been successful.

    Yes, he cut costs ... by laying people off en masse. I'm willing to bet that a sales clerk from the local Wal-Mart would be able to sit behind a desk and give a layoff order.

    Bonuses, if you pay them, should only come for innovation and strong performance. For instance, a sales rep who brings in $10 million in profit probably deserves a $1 million bonus. An assembly line supervisor who devises a system that increases productivity by 25%, saving the company $20 million, would deserve of a huge bonus.

    A CEO should not receive a dime for saving the company money by gutting its work force. That's the way companies have been saving money for ages, and it doesn't require any skill ... aside from the ability to sleep tight despite ruining thousands of lives.

    Clearly, Dubow is another corporate fat cat who believes he deserves millions simply because he is who he is. If is indeed such a prodigy that he is worth nearly $1 million in bonuses alone, then he should leave Gannett and found the next great American company. I mean, surely a $3 million a year man is smart enough to be wildly successful, right?

    But I'm not holding my breath. He's on the gravy train, and he knows full well he won't make as much money as he is now running his own business.

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  87. How much energy do you think Craig is saving? Have other sites received the email about saving energy at their sites? Some rooms where people work there are only a few lights on. We are told to shut down our computers when we leave and to eliminate any refrigerators! What a freakin joke! You would think they would look into solar panels or other technology if they truly want to be GREEN. How about a recycler in our office to recycle newspapers, plastic, etc. We now have one container for each floor. We need a container or more in every department. If Gannett is going to be green, then do it right. They could save millions just on their landscape costs. Plant native plants and stop applying pesticides. Green my ass — wake the hell up Gannett. You are an embarassment to other truly green companies. All Green means to corporate is Dicky's trip to play golf. Walk the walk, if you want to talk, the talk.

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  88. 10:43 pm and all:

    I've just removed a lot of comment garbage that piled up while I was offline. I had TEMPORARILY stopped approving comments in advance, allowing you to post directly, because there was so much demand related to the CEO pay report. I will do this now and then in the future, when there's lots of news.

    I've spiked all the garbage here, and in some other strings, and have returned to approving comments in advance. Thank you for your patience.

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  89. 9:55 here --Before you judge a book by its cover, I was one of those laid off December. I was a top performer who helped make Gannett money. I know about having the hefty house payment and other bills.

    I've also had the top leadership role in much smaller organizations in the past and suspect that DuBow probably wanted to take a bigger pay cut, but board politics don't always allow for that.

    You're right that his salary situation is not the same as someone who makes $50,000 a year. I never imagined that I'd be sympathetic to this guy, but he's got a lot more stuff to be responsible for than the typical employee.

    It could be worse.

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  90. "...he's got a lot more stuff to be responsible for than the typical employee."

    He's a CEO, for God's sake. If he can't handle it, he shouldn't have taken the job.

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  91. And we've been scrimping and not ordering much needed supplies (we were told by corporate not to order until April 1) plus trying to come up with cost-saving ideas while the execs laugh all the way to the bank...makes me want to purchase supplies tomorrow! AIG all over again...

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  92. 11:36 -- You're certainly right that it could be worse, but you can say that about anything.

    The economy could be worse. Global warming could be worse. Hell, the Holocaust could have been worse. That doesn't change any of the realities.

    If Craig Dubow refused to take a bigger pay cut because of "board politics," he's not a real leader. Leaders take a stand, inspire their troops and do what others are afraid to do.

    Craig is looking back at one of the worst years in company history, and he's $3 million richer because of it. There's no way he'll ever be a martyr in my eyes. He lost the faith of investors a year ago. The handful of employees that had faith in him six months ago, have likely given up now.

    Other CEOs -- not many, but those who actually seem to be human -- have offered to work for a year or two at virtually no pay. Seems to me that Craig is squeezing the last drops of profit out of a company on the verge of collapse.

    I'm not saying he's stupid. I'm doing the same thing by staying at my job rather than taking a pay cut to work in another industry. But at $60,000 a year, the drops I collect won't go very far. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to pay the bills while I retrain for another career.

    If Dubow has the sort of genius his multi-million-dollar salary demands, then he's already set for several lifetimes.

    At best, he's a poor sap trying to sock away as much cash as possible before the company is wrestled away from him. At worst, he's an incredibly greedy bastard who cares more about building his personal empire than the lives of the thousands who look to him to make ends meet. I don't see either reality as positive.

    Gone are the captains of industry that people could look up to. Now we're surrounded by folks willing to sell out their neighbors and their nation in the unquenchable desire to acquire more wealth.

    The whole thing saddens me.

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  93. I think Dubow should only get a bonus if he resigns.
    After all, bonuses are for when an employee does something for the good of the company, right?

    Word verification: dismol

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  94. Unless I missed it, I don't see a word about this NEWS on USATODAY.com. This should be on the front screen of Money. The financial writers who complain so loudly about AIG should be complaining just as loud about GCI. SHAME ON YOU!

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  95. This news reminds me of something Hunter S. Thompson wrote following Ford's pardon of Nixon. It's something along the lines of, "If I had any cojones at all, I would drive to the home of the nearest Gannett executive and throw this computer through his front window. Flush the bugger out with an act of lunatic violence, soak him with mace and then lead him down the street at the end of a Bull-buster cattle prod. But time has mellowed me."

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  96. Jim,
    Can you find out how the day-to-day operations of the Citizen will affect the staffers' severance package? I'm curious to learn whether employees who are scheduled to start new jobs on Monday are now going to lose their severance package if they do so.

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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