Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Document: Martore got no salary bump as CEO

Gracia Martore requested that she receive no increase in her annual $950,000 base salary after her promotion to chief executive officer on Oct. 6, according to Gannett's new quarterly report to federal regulators, filed today.

The board of directors agreed to her request, which is effective through 2012, the 10-Q report says. Martore's request doesn't apply to the size of her cash bonus or other potential rewards, which accounted for most of her more than $8 million in compensation last year, however.

The same report also says GCI will record a charge of about $16 million during the current quarter in connection with Craig Dubow's retirement as CEO and board chairman for health reasons.

As previously reported, Dubow's exit payout totaled $37.1 million, including the value of disability and retirement benefits.

Martore's current base salary is $950,000, a figure set when she was promoted to president and chief operating officer in February 2010. As CEO, Dubow's salary was $1.2 million. He hadn't received a salary increase since January 2006.

Both executives voluntarily reduced their salaries through last year, however -- gestures made as GCI's revenue fell, and thousands of employees were laid off or furloughed. Martore's was cut to $900,000, an amount reduced still further as a result of taking unpaid furlough days.

Martore bonus: $1.3M
Yet, even after that voluntary reduction, her total pay last year was enormous: $8.2 million -- twice what she got in 2009. That compensation included a $1.3 million cash bonus; the estimated future value of retirement benefits, plus stock awards and options, which comprise the bulk of most executives' pay. (Table shows total pay for Martore, Dubow and other executives last year.)

Dubow's $9.4 million in pay last year -- also double his haul from the year before -- included a $1.8 million cash bonus.

We don't know what size salary increase the board might have given Martore, had she been agreeable. Her salary might have been set lower than Dubow's $1.2 million base; it might have been higher.

We do know, however, that her request for no increase doesn't apply to any bonus, stock awards or options that will comprise the bulk of her pay this year and next.

What about Magner?
With Dubow's retirement, the board elected fellow director Marjorie Magner as non-executive chairman. Today's quarterly report is silent on whether Magner received an increase in her annual fee as a result of her increased board responsibilities.

Directors are paid a base fee of $45,000 a year. They earn additional fees based on meeting attendance, and participation on committees. They also are awarded stock each year: 2,000 restricted shares, or 8,000 options.

Last year, Magner was paid $117,160 in fees.

Today's report also says that she and the board mutually agreed not to renegotiate her existing employment contract in connection with her promotion, the 10-Q says.

Her current contract was negotiated in February 2007. The annual proxy report to shareholders says the contract provides for a rolling three-year term "until such time as either she or the company provides notice of non-extension, in which case the term of the contract would expire Dec. 31 of the second year following the effective time of the notice."


  1. Good. Considering the way Gannett has performed under Dubow's and her watch, she shouldn't even be keeping the salary she had.

  2. Base salary means nothing for people in these positions. It's all about the bonuses, etc. Note that Steve Jobs worked for a $1 a year salary. He wasn't living in poverty. Granted Apple performed, but Gannett has set things up so its executives get richly rewarded regardless of how the company performs.

  3. Make no mistake:
    Gannett is all about the executives profiting at the expense of the worker bees.

    Trouble is, with every passing year, there are thousands of fewer bees.

    How will they justify the payola after jettisoning the 10K employees in the Publishing Division when print becomes history?

  4. So nothing she does or says makes any difference to the haters. Well credit where credit us due. I've never seen a Gannett CEO so no to the money. You go Gracia!

  5. I have worked for the company for 10 years you losers need to get a hobby . You all make me sick and I am glad you were fired

  6. 8:24, 10 years, really? No one gives a damn about tenure anymore or that it plays a role in keeping you employed in Gannettland. Get real: you may be next.

  7. I've been one of the biggest Gracia bashers on this blog. But I have to admit that this impresses me.

    I'm still disgusted by the volunteer PR stunt, embarrassed as both an employee that the CEO would stage such a shameless stunt and as a journalist that WUSA would consider package it as news.

    This move, with her not taking a pay hike is a good one though. The next good one would be to refuse bonuses and give back some of her salary.

  8. 9:41: You know she's going to say no to a bonus this year because she is trying to make a statement that this is the new Gannett. I agree, however, that she should give back a good portion of what she recceived last year as a bonus to show the masses that she made a mistake. Will it happen? I doubt it.

  9. Agree that credit should be given here, at least as a step in the right direction. Employees cannot 'demand' she give money back. Be reasonable and acknowledge that, at the very least, she is taking efforts and leading by an setting an example that CD never, ever would have even considered. I'm not saying she's pulling a Mother Theresa here. But it's a better display of leadership than this company had before.

    BTW CD (since you still read this blog): See how little it takes to demonstrate some leadership/character and gain some support amongst the troops? Loss of a parking space and settling for being just really rich as opposed to god-awful stinkin' rich.

  10. I say we take a collection for her sacrifice. A porshe is expensive to maintain

  11. She reminds me of Mother Teresa!

  12. So let's see where we stand:

    1) Over-promoted Make a Difference Day
    2) Meaningless pass on cushy parking spot
    3) And now this compensation smoke and mirrors

    Quite a show so far.

  13. I don't think it would make a dent in her lifestyle if Martore were to give up a year's salary and bonus.

  14. Directors are paid a base fee of $45,000 a year. They earn additional fees based on meeting attendance, and participation on committees.

    Shouldn't meetings/committees be part of the job? What the hell does a director do?

  15. 2:32,
    There's no reason for her to give-up her salary and bonus. If she's earned it and it's tied to the good performance of the company - fine.

    What I can't stand is the smoke and mirrors nonsense of declining a base salary increase when we all know the vast bulk of her comp will come from bonus NOT tied to the success of the company, but rather to the decline of it.

  16. 1:36 what a sad, petty, immature post. I beg you, please get a job with another company.

  17. She requested that she NOT get a raise for her promotion...What a crock of shit. She will get that back in spades with stock options, life insurance policies, cars, free lunches, Gannett Foundation funds, legal and financial services paid by the company to the firms law firm Nixon Peabody.

    Martore is one of the shiftiest executives on the GMC. Every move she makes is very calculated. Remember she controls the marketing and PR departments and she is trying to paint herself as a "real down to earth" employee.

    Martore is the one who demands furloughs, increases in medical costs, layoffs and plant closings.

    Don't let all this superficial crap fool anyone.

  18. Yes, we've now learned that the so-called "down to earth" Martore is actually a bigger phoney than Dubow. These stupid CEO tricks prove it.

  19. When everyone complained about Dubow, what they didn't realize was that SHE was the spin doctor making every decision and that she was Dubow's puppet master.

  20. How does anybody see this as a great sacrifice on her part. You realize, don't you, that she received more compensation last year than Dubow did in some previous years. She also effectively ran the company for the last two years (Dubow was gone a lot). So, essentially she said, "You don't need to pay me more for continuing the downward spiral that is Gannett." How is this a sacrifice? She shouldn't have even got the job. Based on performance, she and Dubow were both terrible. This is not a sacrifice on her part. It's a gift to her from the ineffective board of directors.

    Whoever said she will be criticized no matter what she does is correct. There is no reason to pat a poor executive on the back for PR moves like this when her track record has been terrible. If she were one of her own employees, she would have been canned long ago.

  21. If she wants to impress us, here's a few things she can do:

    1) Get the stock price back to respectability.

    2) Improve morale with REAL initiatives not smoke and mirrors that insult our intelligence.

    3) Refuse the bonus until the company performance improves.

    4) Make a bold, impactful acquisition that tells the world that Gannett is a player.

    5) Steal a key exec away from a top media company instead of the retreads we take only because they're out of work.

    Now, that's a good start.

  22. Good for you Gracia.

  23. This was a lose-lose situation for Gracia any way its viewed. For those who want to believe she's trying to set a leadership example, it looks like a great start and for those who believe she's been the mastermind of layoffs, furloughs and wage freezes this refusal of a raise amounts to nothing for than lipservice, insulting even. Who couldn't live off $950K annually?

    So choose your side. Feel better? Not really. Maybe some will take this one gesture as a good thing and wait to see what else she has planned.

  24. 11:18 makes some good points.

    A question: Martore's refusal of a raise was disclosed in a regulatory filing that required close reading to uncover.

    Assuming this was, indeed, a gesture meant to appease unhappy employees, how did she think anyone would learn about it? After all, it's not as though the average employee reads SEC documents.

  25. Jim:

    Wasn't this move really a win-win-win for Gracia.

    Despite the disastrous Dubow era, when she was the No. 2 executive at the company, she gets to keep her job (win).

    At a time when many Americans are unemployed, she gets to maintain a base salary of nearly $1 million a year (win).

    She may very well receive a huge raise for her work this year, depending on what happens with bonuses, etc. At worst, she should make double her salary in bonuses (win).

    There are many things Gracia could have done if she really wanted to demonstrate a shift in thinking.

    1. Turn down a base salary altogether.
    2. Agree to work only for a base salary of a million a year and turn down the bonuses and other perks.
    3. Do both of the above for a one-year period to demonstrate that she plans to get the company back on track and operate in good faith.

    She did none of these things, of course, because she's in it for the money. I suppose you can't blame her for that, but you also can't pat her on the back. Her goal, pure and simple, is to take as much money out of this company as she can. If she is such a financial genius and could make more elsewhere, you can bet she would leave. I don't think anybody's making her better offers. After all, she's presiding over a rapidly shrinking company in what many perceive to be a dying industry.

    Making the kind of money that she is for fulfilling that job description seems like a pretty good deal.

  26. 10:53 Since this was a voluntary move on Martore's part, I assume she sees this as a good move for herself in the long run. I don't see a significant downside.

  27. Here’s a couple added moves to consider…

    • Stop using Gannett foundation funds for her alma matter, others and for “charitable” giving outside Gannett market areas.

    • Get rid of company aircraft. NetJets works great, plus it would force retirees like Dubow et al to fly commercial or get their own card.

  28. Are McCorkindale and family still flying those corporate jets?

  29. If she wants to be a different CEO - STOP FURLOUGHS, STOP LAYOFFS, and at least give employees a cost of living RAISE! Most of us have had pay cuts not Million$ bonuses! Is that asking too much? All we ask is to be treated fairly and respectfully. A 1% raise is like a slap in the face. No raises in 4 years is pitiful.. Could she live on a $40,000 salary?

  30. Makes me sick that usa today will give out jobs to local papers. they let us go so that the local paper can take over. And this will be the death of the USA today. Give us our jobs back before you kill the paper with these local dirt balls that will toss them in the back seat.


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