Monday, May 06, 2013

By the numbers | GCI's next CEO, through the ages

Gannett's workforce has gotten smaller and younger since 2006 as the company shed 20,000 employees, many in their 50s or older -- easy targets to save multimillions in payroll dollars.

But at the company's highest echelons, the workforce is no less gray. From the board of directors to the CEO and other officers, their average age in 2006 was 57. By last year, the average had hardly changed: 56, according to a review of regulatory filings.

Indeed, when directors promoted Gracia Martore to chief executive in October 2011, she was 60 years old -- and already within five years of mandatory CEO retirement age, in an industry roiled by far younger executives and entrepreneurs.

It's probably too soon for the board to disclose a CEO succession plan to shareholders. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that possible internal candidates to succeed Martore are now 55, 54, 50 and 48 years old.

As shareholders gather tomorrow for their annual meeting, here are some key numbers about age:

Average age of entrepreneurs funded by well-known Y Combinator business incubator

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (on his birthday next week)

Frank Gannett, when he founded the company

Martore's predecessor, Craig Dubow, when he became CEO

Average of Fortune 500 CEOs

Average of Gannett's current 27 officers and directors *


GCI's oldest board member, Duncan McFarland

Al Neuharth when he died late last month


* listed in the company's 2012 Annual Report

Related: the shareholder proxy report, with the main agenda for tomorrow's meeting


  1. Is that age or IQ?

  2. In the interest of fuller disclosure, I am 56 years old.

  3. Not bad, but an observation. Female top execs seem to hold more power than male counterparts. Number of top female leaders in newspaper ranks is up significantly from 5-10 years ago. TV lags, but making progress. Will next CEO influence this. Men have not been tapped for large pub roles as they have been in the past, leading one to think - is my gender int he way of my perceived performance? It's just that the playing field has been leveled and neither is an advantage anymore. We call that progress.

    1. For the first time in the company's history, the three most powerful jobs are all held by women: chairman, CEO and CFO. That's no small accomplishment.

  4. I would hope they are not making decisions about the company based on gender role for traditionally male dominated roles in the company. There seem to be many jobs such as production and delivery workers which were mostly positions held by male workers terminated since Martore became the CEO.

  5. Gracia may be older, but she's the first in years here to have any grasp of the Web at all.

  6. word has it that 31 took the buyout

  7. I am a white middle aged guy who has been passed over for positions that have gone to less qualified women and other minorities. When is it ever about best qualified and most suited for the job?

    1. It's about that - when you're a minority woman.

  8. Lets hope Gracia is smart enough to pass the torch to the very talented Maryam Banikarim.

  9. White male payback. Look at new Louisiana position created to elevate woman publisher to higher level. Look at corporate and trace promotions to non-USAT editorial roles. Women now run Gannett. This can be good, but it is strategic and don't kid yourselves. The female leadership happily glad to put white men aside.

  10. MB as CEO.....God help us all.

  11. When Gracia exits at end of 2015 or early 2016, the Board will replace her with someone from outside the company. No one currently on the Gannett leadership team will be deemed worthy.

    Remember that the mandatory retirement age for the Chairman is 70, so it's possible that Gracia could become Chairman. But since Marge is the same age as Gracia, she might not be willing to relinquish it at 65.

    1. That's not quite accurate as far as Martore's automatic eligibility to stay on the board past age 65; she would need special permission from the board as a whole. (McCorkindale got that for just one year, as I recall.) Here's what the proxy statement says:

      "The By-laws of the Company establish mandatory retirement ages of 70 for directors who have not been executives of the Company and 65 for directors who have served as executives, except that the Board of Directors may extend the retirement age beyond 65 for directors who are or have been the CEO of the Company."

    2. The board might want to continue playing it safe and promote from inside.

      I think Lougee (who is now 54) might have a shot since broadcasting has done so well. For better or worse, Dubow came from broadcasting.

      Also, Chief Digital Officer David Payne, who is now 50. Being digital would help, and like McCorkindale, he is a former attorney. On the downside, his operating experience is still narrow and he doesn't have Martore's finance background.

      And the board wanted to play it super, super safe: Bob Dickey.

    3. I should add that Victoria Harker's actual interest in Gannett is debatable, given that she serves as a director on THREE other corporate boards.

    4. Never said it was automatic, just a possibility. It's doubtful she'd want it anyway, given family situation.


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