Friday, December 16, 2011

Two GCI consulting jobs richer than Robinson's

There's been much grumbling about the New York Times Co.'s Janet Robinson getting paid $4.5 million next year as a consultant, after she exits as CEO the end of this month.

But consider the princely deals two former Gannett executives wrangled on the way out the door:
  • Al Neuharth is getting $300,000 a year for the rest of his life under deals he reached with the board of directors when he retired as chairman and CEO in 1989. Neuharth is now 87.
  • Larry Miller was to be paid $600,000 a year for the rest of his life after he retired July 1, 2003, as executive vice president of operations. The agreement, disclosed in this proxy report, renewed automatically for successive one-year periods unless Miller or GCI chose otherwise. I have found nothing in the public record indicating whether the contract is still in effect. Assuming he's still around, Miller would now be 73.


  1. Jim, Al gets a whole lot more. You are so busy writing biased headlines about stock prices that you miss the real stories. This is one of them

  2. 1. That's a broad statement. As you (or another reader) would typically write: No details = no credibility.

    Also, I never said that's all Neuharth receives. The $300K I wrote about here is the result of only the two deals I've cited.

    2. I'm still waiting for someone to explain why yesterday's headline is biased.

  3. How many deals like this are embedded into our past proxy statements? So, we laided off 18 people making $50k a year to cover what we're paying these two guys each year for not working? Add that to the $37 million we paid Craig for not working, plus whatever I bet we've paid or are paying our past CEOs for quitting or "consulting," and you've got real money.

    Could you imagine the good works we could do if instead of paying Al and Larry for not working, we hired nine investigative journalism specialists at $80k plus benefits to do jaw-dropping work? Embed two in each group, plus one as the player coach?

    Could you imagine 90 more scholarships, at $10k each, given to the children of Gannett employees through the foundation's annual Jennings effort?

    Could you imagine nine "genius grants" given at $100k to Gannett employees each year to fund ideas, innovation or creativity at the local levels?


  4. Another proof point on what's wrong with corporate America. Do these Boards REALLY believe this is necessary?

  5. Why, oh why, does the board of directors, particularly the "independent" directors, go along with these payoffs? How are these former executives possibly worth these sums long after they leave the company? Why aren't the stockholders demanding an end to the handouts?

  6. 2:53, you have to cut Jim some slack. These days, he either screwed up or gets piled on every day, so he gets cranky.

  7. In recent years, Neuharth also has been getting nearly $500,000 a year in salary and expenses as founder of the original Gannett Foundation, which he renamed the Freedom Forum foundation in Washington 20 years ago.

  8. Wonder if he stills also gets $100,000 a year from USAT for that ghastly column that others ghostwrite.

  9. I do support you in efforts and I like the ongoing analysis of Gannett and even of the Freedom Forum/Newseum to some (lesser) extent. I would however just caution you in calling money you receive from your readers as "donations" or "contributions" because we don't want to mislead anyone into thinking they can deduct the amounts on their personal returns, would we? Wouldn't that open you to some level of liability? Do you have any legal or tax research on that? Please be careful.

  10. I would like to know if any of the contributors here -- who are stupid just for contributing -- are dumb enough to try to take it as a deduction. That would be a fun story.

    Jim already is liable for providing false information and encouraging others to do the same. These are blatant attempts to hurt the stock price, and those should be investigated.


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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