Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GCI gives new marketing chief big stock package

Gannett has just given Maryam Banikarim two sizable stock awards with her appointment as GCI's first chief marketing officer, according to a notice filed this afternoon with federal regulators.

Banikarim, 42, got:

1. 25,000 shares that she may claim Dec. 10, 2014. These so-called RSUs give recipients the right to receive shares at a later date, a form of deferred compensation meant to both encourage executives to stay at a company while also working to boost a stock's market price.

How much are they worth? If, for example, GCI is trading that December date for the same price as today's close -- $14.87 -- her 25,000 shares would be worth $371,750.

2. 50,000 stock options. These give Banikarim the right to buy GCI stock from the company at a fixed "strike" price -- $15.41 a share -- no matter how high the stock trades on the open market. These options become her property, known as "vesting," in four equal annual installments starting Dec. 10 of this year.

As with all such awards, options only have value when shares trade on the open market above the strike price. If GCI is trading for, say, $20 a share on Dec. 10, Banikarim may buy her first quarterly installment, 12,500 shares, for $15.41 each, and then sell them for $20 each for an immediate profit of $57,375.

GCI did not disclose the purpose of today's awards, although they appear to be a form of signing bonus, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They were given to her on Monday, the same day GCI announced it had hired the former NBC Universal marketing executive.

Earlier today, GCI named a new chief digital officer, David Payne. It's likely any stock awards he received will be disclosed to the SEC in the days ahead.

Both Banikarim and Payne were made senior vice presidents, and members of the Gannett Management Committee, the soon-to-be 13-member group that runs GCI's overall operations.

Earlier: A six-figure stock award to former Chief Digital Officer Chris Saridakis


  1. Jim,
    I think they gave Saridakis 150,000 options and like 50,000 RSU's at 33 a share when he joined in 2008. This package seems light.

  2. 10:26 Excellent memory. I've added a link to what I wrote about Saridakis back then. (The link in the post to the original SEC filing is dead, however.)

  3. this package wouldn't attract a midlevel director at any other real tech company

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