Thursday, January 05, 2012

What did top brass get paid in 2011? Here's a peek; Banikarim beats Gannett veterans to stock windfall

Corporate has just revealed some first crucial details about what the most senior executives got paid in 2011, a year when 700 newspaper workers got laid off, thousands more were furloughed, earnings and revenue tanked, and Gannett’s stock price dove 11%.

Documents filed yesterday with government regulators show the board of directors awarded nearly 300,000 restricted shares of stock to 13 executives, including CEO Gracia Martore. Her stake alone would be worth nearly $800,000 at today's closing share price.

The shares represent only part of what the executives got paid overall. Still to come in the months ahead: more details about their other stock awards, plus their salaries, bonuses and other benefits.

Another recipient of the new share rewards is Maryam Banikarim, who was named chief marketing officer last March. Reflecting her broad authority, she got more shares than several longer-serving executives -- including USA Today Publisher Dave Hunke.

Banikarim's would be worth $302,000 vs. $252,000 for Hunke, also based on today's closing price. (See table, below; bigger view.)

The shares awarded to Banikarim and to another spring hire -- Chief Digital Officer David Payne -- are in addition to those awards they got here and here when they signed on.

Martore and eight others got fewer shares -- in her case, substantially so -- than a year before, according to the documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That doesn’t necessarily mean their total compensation for 2011 was lower than in 2010, however. The board of directors may think these restricted shares will eventually be worth more than those granted last year. Also, directors could give the executives more of their total pay in cash or other types of stock. The final figures will be disclosed in March, when Corporate releases the annual proxy report to shareholders.

Awards like IOUs
The restricted stock units disclosed yesterday are like stock IOUs. They give Martore and the others the right to claim their shares four years from now: Dec. 31, 2015. Delaying the RSUs encourages the executives to stay with the company, and gives them another incentive to work toward a higher stock price -- benefiting all shareholders.

There’s no way to know how much the RSUs will be worth at the end of 2015. But assuming shares are valued the same as today’s closing price -- $13.73 -- the RSUs would be worth six figures for all of the executives. In Martore’s case: about $770,000.

RSUs are among four major components of annual pay. The others are salary and bonus, both paid in cash. The fourth is stock options, which let executives buy shares at fixed prices, no matter how much they're worth on the open market.

For example, in 2010, when Martore was the company’s No. 2 executive, her total compensation was valued at $8.2 million. RSUs that year accounted for $1.7 million of the total.

Martore’s salary: $950K
When she was promoted to CEO three months ago, Martore declined a raise in her base salary, which is $950,000.

Yesterday’s documents show the board awarded Martore nearly 57,000 RSUs for 2011 vs. 90,000 in 2010.

Only one executive employed both years got more: Paul Davidson, CEO of the U.K. newspaper division Newsquest, who got nearly 24,000 vs. 20,000 in 2010.

Related: this spreadsheet shows projected values of the 2011 RSUs for each of the 13 executives, plus the number awarded in 2010. Here's a snapshot of the spreadsheet:


  1. So, after nine months, what do we have to show for the investment in Banikarim's compensation? Yeah, that's right: The investment in her compensation, and the departure of some very talented people. Nothing else.

    Nice, Gracia.

  2. #occupygannett

  3. Banikarim has almost as many share as Lougee? Give me a break. The woman did a great snow job negotiating a contract as an empty suit CMO. Lougee at least runs a division, for chrissake.

    She can't resign fast enough. What a total waste of corporate money.

  4. Stories like this make me sick.
    Just another example of Gannett's scheme to extract revenue from local markets to reward the 1% in the Crystal Palace.

  5. FYI. These are like IOUs but you earn them at the end of the year. You just can't do anything with them until year 4. So all the shares awarded this week would become yours in 2013, you just can't touch them until 2015. Whether you stay with the company or not.

  6. Jim,
    Can you please explain to us worker bees who toil away at the community newspapers using antiquated software and computers, with less staffing and resources than ever before, while being asked to put together an assinine "passion topics" plan that will never be fully implemented before the next crazed plan is put in place, exactly what banakirim does that helps the company make money or is helping advance the company in any possible way? Is there any tangible evidence of anything she has done, except her dumb newsletter? Is she working on top-secret projects?
    Are we soon to roll out new smart phone apps for all the papers that she designed?
    Does anyone who posts here know what she does?

  7. 12:22 from what I can tell, she spends her time hiring PR agencies to get her press and feed her ego. I have not seen a single iniative that generates revenue or helps advance the Gannett profit plan.

    Such a waste of resources.

    Gracia, the only thing that can elevate employee morale is to take care of employees, stop with all the wasteful marketing gimmicks, give us tools to deliver the news.

    The CMO hire and all her "friends" hiring was a bad move. Who on the board or operating committee approved this? Just a lame waste of money.

  8. Banikarim has more shares than the CDO Payne? Isn't he one of the most critical executives in the transformation?

    This entire system of rewarding people for doing nothing is making me ill.

    Thanks Jim for posting.

  9. Keep in mind that these restricted shares also pay dividends which accure as the shares vest. another source of $ if these people stick around. and again, these rsus have value, unlike under water options.

  10. Fire all of them and let's start over!

  11. One thing we know Banikarim can do is self-promote. She announced today another gathering of USAT staffers for later this month to look at her latest branding work. Can't wait for that one. No need for a light show....just a single spotlight on her will do just fine.

  12. It's hysterical to read posts attacking MB when you folks have no clue what she and her various teams are working on. Just because you don't know does not mean nothing is happening. Since folks have no problem posting confidential information here there is no reason to share until you have a need to know. 2012 is going to be an extraordinary year. Let's review in September. In the meantime keep up the personal attacks. It's what you are best at. A big MB fan and proud of it!!!!!!!

  13. 4:47 thanks Maryam for stopping by. So obvious. We all know you are a fan of yourself.

  14. 4:47 Banikarim has been on board for 8 months and NOTHING to show.
    "Just because you don't know doesn't mean nothing is happening". Umm, yes it does.

    She's the CMO, a member of the operating committee, highly compensated while hundreds lose their jobs. The criticism here seems fair.

    Time to produce.

    Like it or not, this blog allows a place for frustrated employees to share. Jim is the watchdog on management and gives a voice to many who see a culture of management greed with little results to show.

  15. Isnt promoting usa today micek's job? I thought MB was CMO of GANNETT. where are the 8 months of marketing efforts on behalf of the company? Again, what has been done to enhance the bottom line ? More than self promotional puff pieces in trade journals? Doubtful. And I am not a hater.

  16. There is a lot of brown stuff flowing here.

  17. 4:47 Banikarim has been on board for 8 months and NOTHING to show.
    "Just because you don't know doesn't mean Jim doesn't eat crap nothing is happening". Umm, yes it does.

    She's the CMO, a member of the operating committee, highly compensated while hundreds lose their jobs. The criticism here where Jim sucks seems fair.

    Time to produce.

    Like it or not, this blog allows a place for frustrated employees to share B.S. tales. Jim is the watchdog on buffet restaurants and gives a voice to many who see a culture of management greed with little results to show.

  18. What about Bob Dickey? Can someone please explain to me what this man does to earn such an insane income. This whole thing is just nuts. No raises, furloughs, no paid OT, yet these idiots reap what we sew. I cannot wait til I never have to work for such greed again. The economy is turning around, jobs are coming back. Gannett — you will soon have a mass exodus because of your horrific treatment of your employees. You give us no reason at all to stay.

  19. 10:07: Everything you say is true. The answer is simple. Because you let them. Get out!

  20. Bottom line is NOTHING has changed at USAT in marketing since any of these people showed-up. It's more of a confused mess than ever before. They live by the words "work in progress", "it's not finalized yet", "we don't have everything worked out yet" and so on.

    NOTHING ever gets done. Either produce or go find the jobs you REALLY want and stop wasting the time of people who actually care about this brand.


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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