Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Translating CFO Saleh's remarks on future job cuts

Entering 2012, Gannett expects its publishing division employment will be down in the "low single digits'' -- that's in percentage terms -- Chief Financial Officer Paul Saleh told a Wall Street media stock analyst conference this morning.

Saleh wasn't any more specific. But I imagine he's talking about job cuts of around 5% among U.S. newspapers, which account for the bulk of publishing.

He implied the cuts have already taken place, telling analysts they are "due primarily to workforce actions we took this year." Note: past tense.

And, yes, workforce actions is business speech for layoffs, a subject of greatest interest to Gannett Blog readers.

To be sure, nothing in Saleh's remarks precludes the company from whacking employment further this month, or next year.

Some context: GCI reduced worldwide employment by 7% in 2010 from 2009, to 32,600 workers. Across the U.S. newspapers, it was a bigger 9% cut.


  1. With even greater conviction, I now believe Corporate may order another round of newspaper layoffs as soon as January. You read that here first.

  2. Of course they will. How else will they service the debt, maintain dividends, buy back shares to buoy the stock price and still free up enough money to fund those VITALLY IMPORTANT executive bonuses?

  3. I say it happens tomorrow.

  4. It's Gannett....we expect nothing less. Expense cutting is the extent of our strategic and creative thinking and the reason why we are now thought of as one of America's worst companies for employees.

  5. What's up and what's down in overall publishing revenue and publishing advertising? That's a major, major factor in any more job cuts.

    Remarks by Saleh and Martore were a bit confusing, according to the replay of the conference call.

    Saleh said in his remarks: "Total revenue in publishing at this point in the quarter are [sic] approximately 5.5% down."

    Later, an analyst says the following: "I was trying to do the math a little bit. If quarter-to-date publishing revenues are down six --"

    Martore: " -- five and a half."

    " --- and that includes the circulation, which is presumably better than that, I'm kind of implying advertising is 7% down."

    "No. That five and a half is also advertising revenues, quarter to date. . . . Total advertising revenues are down five and a half."

    For context: In the third quarter, publishing advertising fell 8.5% from a year before. And publishing revenue -- ads plus circulation -- was down 6.3%.

    In the replay, Saleh's remarks start at about minute 34:40.

    Martore's exchange with the analyst starts at 50:40.

  6. Arrrgh! Just got a very vague tip that something is, indeed, going down tomorrow -- which may conflict with my January layoff tip.

  7. What a sham, and as a shareholder, I am angry at the stewards of my company for acting like weasels when analysts ask common questions.

    Watch the stock drop over the next week, typical freefall after one of these meetings. How sad when the best opporunity with Gannett is to short the stock.

  8. With furloughs coming in January, it would make sense that layoffs would come in December if layoffs were to take place. We shall see tomorrow

  9. Early on, as an employee, I thought it some ethical measure to buy stock in my own employer. So sadly laughable now, isn't it -- given that Gannett has absolutely no ethics of its own.

  10. Jim, no layoffs coming. Gracia wants to avoid them. November ad numbers were better than expected. December off to good start.

  11. If anyone's out of a job soon, I'm going out on a limb now and say that it's USAT Publisher Dave Hunke, possibly announcing his retirement as soon as tomorrow.

    But could his likely successor, Susie Ellwood, end her search for a new editor this quickly, and name Mark Silverman for that post? Hard to believe.

  12. Gannett: A pink Slip is in reach

  13. It has begun. Nice holidays some unfortunate people will have.

  14. 10:13 - Gracia couldn't "avoid them" (layoffs) after all. Old habits die hard I guess.

  15. It appears some have already happened today — so much for that. Sure more are to come. Gracia — once a numbers cruncher, always a numbers cruncher. This is one of the most unethical blood thirsty companies I have ever worked for. Do you know that as a single person none of your medical procedures are covered until you pay $1250 out of pocket? Only wellness exams are covered at 100% after that you are screwed. If you doctor thinks you need an ultrasound or MRI, you might have a tumor — you have to foot the entire bill! With no raises, furloughs, layoffs — guess I'll take my chances and when I do have a long term illness let Gannett foot the entire bill — cause I'll be dead and then it's on them. Selfish heartless bastards.

    Jim, no layoffs coming. Gracia wants to avoid them. November ad numbers were better than expected. December off to good start.

  16. I hate this company. I hope all the CEOs and the board of directors lose everything. Can't wait for them to have to have the shitty benefits their employees have. Wake up and smell the freaking coffee! And to think I thought a woman CEO would have more compassion. Boy was I wrong.


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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