Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Smelling opportunity, Saridakis sells more shares

With only two days left before his exit, Chris Saridakis (left) is selling Gannett stock like a man trying to lose funk from a skunk.

The departing chief digital officer has sold another 9,169 shares, according to a new regulatory filing today. Saridakis sold them Monday for $18.63 a share, or $170,818. These were shares he owned directly, rather than options such as the 24,000 he exercised and then sold last week, for a $344,160 profit.

Saridakis, 41, has been appointed CEO of the marketing services division at GSI Commerce outside Philadelphia. Friday is his last official day at Gannett. Corporate has not announced his replacement.

Earlier, he sold 5,693 shares, also owned directly, on March 24 for $16.55 a share, or $94,219, according to this U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.


  1. Youl go boy!!! Get out of that crap!

  2. Go Chris...Go Chris! We wish Chris much success!! Sell - Sell - Sell!

  3. Give us a list of your Gannett Greatest Hits before you dump the last load, huh boy?!!!

  4. SEC form4 indicates that he purchased 5,000 shares on the open market in 2008... must have been to show Craig how loyal he was...

    He got run over on those shares.

    Looks like he still cashed about half a mil. Not bad.

  5. It appears Chris is selling his shares all the way to the bank! He made millions off of Gannett! Now thats a man you would be proud to work for! Go Chris!

  6. Jim,
    What I like about Saridakis is that he is a person who stands on principle. I understand he has been very successful prior to Gannett (I know some people in the industry and many have said he is worth over $200 million). What is interesting is he had nothing to lose by joining Gannett. What I mean is he probably said what he had to say and he was probably challenging all the other executives without having to worry about "getting fired". He can do this because he was not only financially secure, but because he is passionate about what he does and what he believes.

    A few weeks ago, he had an "all hands" meeting with his entire department and he did not disappoint. He would usually hold these meetings every quarter or so and everyone in Digital attended (and dialed in) because they knew they would get a good perspective on Gannett, Digital and the opportunities. We also knew that he would "tell it like it is". He is one of the most candid people we have ever had as an executive at Gannett.

    My theory is that he can truly afford to be the person he is, because he does not have to kiss anyone's ass at Gannett. Especially his bosses. I am glad I had an opportunity to work with him and be part of his team. We need more successful people at Gannett telling the complacent executives to "shove it".

    I think his stock sales are less about him making an extra million and more about him telling them to "shove it". Especially prior to a board meeting and a shareholder meeting.

  7. 12:59a...Totally agree with you. Saridakis is probably just screwing around with Gannett by selling his shares now. I think he is making a point by selling at this time and I am sure it is making Dubow & Co. very uncomfortable.

  8. My manager said that he met with Gracia Martore the other day and it appears that she is now going to have all of Saridakis's direct reports report into her!

    I think Saridakis has about 12 people reporting into him now. Add that to the other dozen Finance people in Gannett, plus all the divisional Presidents and corporate staff and Ms. Martore will have over 36 people reporting into her directly!!!

    She also told my manager that they have not even started a search for Saridakis's replacement!

    It sounds like they are trying to get Jack Williams "more involved" in some of Digital.

  9. While it sounds like Saridakis ia a "nicer person" than most Gannett executives, we shouldn't forget that he got some real sweetheart treatment to work for the company. I mean the guy came in, made a lot of cash and got out, which is typical of big management sorts.

    It's a stretch to argue that Dubow and Martore are not successful. Both rake in millions each year off the backs of employees. In other words, they too know how to bring in their fair share of cash. They just aren't as touchy feely while they're doing it.

    What the company -- and this country -- really need are paydays based purely on performance. No executive staffer should be able to take a bonus during a year when his company conducted mass layoffs or lost value. And the also should not be able to take a bonus when the company rebounds -- unless it rebounds beyond the point it was at when they took over.

    Sound harsh? Yes, it is. And it's also the reality for people who actually own their own businesses and don't have these sweetheart deals that allow them to rake in massive salaries regardless of what's happening to the economy and their company overall.

  10. I would still like to hear just one person list his accomplishments. Thanks.

  11. Well I would have to say that he did not make his money sitting at Gannett for decades milking this cow. He started businesses many times with his own money, he ran them and successfully sold many of them.

    There are many people who would despise someone that successful, but he has done well because he took a risk, like many small business owners, and it paid off for him several times. Some might call it luck (maybe one time hit), but he obviously does not amass that much wealth by becoming lucky. He clearly has a good track record.

    As for the poster who keeps asking about his accomplishments, you can turn to the company I work at today and take a look at it's success.

    Pointroll is going to add over $65 million to Gannett's bottomline! He hired an amazing and loyal management team here at Pointroll and he has some of the best employee relationships and client relationships than anyone in the industry.

    I am not sure that can be said about any other executive at Gannett. It might be unusal for people on this blog to actually read positive comments about a senior executive at Gannett, but if you had the opportunity to work closely with Chris, you will see that he is unlike many of the "suits" in corporate America.

  12. Thanks for that, 10:40 AM. That's a start to the list.

    -Added $65 million to Gannett's bottom line via Pointroll acquisition.

    I won't include all the fluff stuff since those are merely process objectives he apparently met by forming good relationships.

    Can someone verify this first point on the accomplishments list, and can others add to it? Thanks.

  13. Thank you 10:40a. I agree and I would like to add to it. My spouse, who works as a C-level executive recruiter, said that within the industry, Saridakis has some of the highest marks from fellow entreprenuers, bankers and recruiters.

    Saridakis also is a self made executive that did it with the help of his dedicated friends and co-workers who follow him to other companies. I would not doubt that many people will leave Gannett/Pointroll to work with him at his new company.

    At Gannett, I would say that in his two years there he has accomplished quite a bit. Just reading from some of Mr. Dubow comments over time, Chris acquired Shoplocal and turned a bad business into a very profitable one. He installed a complex ad management system across all of Gannett. Thankfully, he got rid of a bad video management system and deployed a much better solution. He built stronger relationships between all divisions (do you all remember what it was like with Jack Williams!!!???). He continued to manage and grow Pointroll and he took over another Jack Williams failure (high school sports) and threw out the CEO and the CEO's wife and turned that business around as well.

    I am sure there is more that he has done at Gannett in the last two years, but he is smart to move on, sell his stock and get out. Gannett got a great deal when they bought Pointroll and I am sure they know it.

  14. What did he do at Gannett other than be transferred with Pointroll??? Jim? Somebody answer!!!!

  15. 11:20 am: Chris was a great guy! He deserves the extra millions for that alone. Why don't you understand.

  16. I disgree with those praising this guy. I think Saridakis has made out like a bandit, unloading his holdings in Pointroll and Ripple6 on a company unfamiliar with the ethical issues involved in profiling Internet customers to GCI sites. If $65 million is the amount of money Pointroll brought it, I bet it is the top as what is happening is that GCI now realizes the ethical issues, and is withdrawing from these technologies very quietly. That's why there's no successor and why Gracia is taking this under her wings.
    The broad issue goes back to the debate over Doubleclick, which dropped snooping cookies in people's computers without asking permission. Ripple6 and Pointroll take that another step further, profiling users and in some cases prompting their purchasing patterns with deceptive postings. If users of Moms and Metromix sites knew how they are being manipulated, there would be a public uproar.
    Saridakis is getting out at the right time, and I for one welcome his speedy departure. This company has enough ethical challenges to take on outraged Internet consumers.

  17. Is Gannett really withdrawing these technologies very quietly, as you say, 11:50 AM? Can you say more?

  18. I'm entering this "was he good/was he bad" debate for the first time. Saridakis was by no means perfect, and I don't think he ever claimed to be. I've written that those PointRoll and Ripple6 deals did not appear to be especially arm's length, despite Gannett's statements to the contrary.

    But I'll say this much in favor of the guy: He's the only Gannett Management Committee member to ever correspond with me openly, and for the record. He was never afraid to see his own comments appear under his name on this blog.

    By that measure, all the other GMC members are wimps.

  19. Saridakis, one more pirate jumping the sinking ship!

  20. Not only does he correspond with you, Jim, but obviously he corresponds with himself ;-) "Im jumping ship with Sardakis" "great guy" PR blah blah

  21. He will be missed. I corresponded with him several times. Good guy. I am a Gannett employee in USCP and I met Chris when he came to Des Moines.

  22. I don't think the question is: "Is he good or is he bad?" I just think people should realize that he is an extremely well paid executive like everyone else. He joined the company, made a lot of money while working for it, and now he's leaving to make more money somewhere else.

    He may have better people skills than the other upper managers at Gannett, but he doesn't seem like a white knight. He made a bundle selling his company to Gannett, and now he's cashing out a bunch of company stock, indicating that he has no faith in the future of the company. If he's doing that as an FU to Gannett, then he's also flipping the bird to all of us employees because de-valuing the company doesn't help us.

    In fact, I don't see any indication that he's particularly worried about you or me. From the facts presented here, he seems to be a typical American millionaire whose main concern is hoarding as much money as he can while there's still money to hoard.

    He may have taken chances during some point of his career but there was no gambling with Gannett. He was guaranteed big money with the company and he made that big money despite staying with it during the worse years of its existence.

  23. Every millionaire at Gannett is a "good guy" when you correspond with him! Perhaps Chris was gooder, but where's the beef for the last 2 years? Methinks he took a local Good Guy course and was paid NOT to screw up relations with PointRoll. The least he could do is share his charm techniques with Gannett peers before jumping and cashing.


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