Big Cash Bonuses for Executives — Not oil companies — Newspapers

By Mick Gregory

How much do the top management of today’s media empires make? We only seem to see reports of the CEOs of a few global oil companies. What about the newspaper business? A product that is not a necessity in today’s multi-media age. Let’s look at the McClatchy gang.

These bonuses for McClatchy Newspaper executives are in addition to their annual salaries. Not a bad take for walking around in suits discussing global warming and the chances of Hillary/Obama winning in ’08. This is in sleepy Sacramento, with a nick name of “Sack-o-tomatoes” because it is smack in the middle of central California’s farm belt and you see semi-trucks by the score stacked high with small red potatoes that look a lot like tomatoes.

You can see the demographics in their Sunday best, as they make the trip to town. You know, starched white shirt, cowboy hat and boots on Pa, Ma has highlights and a long cowgirl skirt. The kids look like gang bangers. Old Town Sac has maintained wood sidewalks for that “Old West” look.

This is where the McClatchy Bee newspaper empire holds court. Bee is a very old-timey name for a newspaper, isn’t it? Kind of cute. “Busy bees.” Who knew this clan would end up gobbling up Knight Ridder, then pay for half the purchase by selling off the prestigious Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News and the San Jose Mercury News right off the bat?

In an industry that is losing revenue every year and piling on expenses, while it cuts its staff and puts more and more operations offshore, to Pune, India, isn’t it funny that they reward this type of executive management?
How about offshoring management? With today’s Skype, Web conferencing, and Business Service Software, the real number crunchers in India could streamline operations in months.

Here is the president of McClatchy, Gary Pruitt from two years ago.

Base Pay $950,000

Bonus $1,100,000

Restricted Stock $0

LTIP Payouts $108,600

Present Value of Option Grants $342,194

Other Annual Compensation $0

All Other Compensation $19,171

Total Compensation $2,519,965

Stock Option Exercises and Cumulative Balances

Shares Aquired on Exercise (#) 0

Value Realized for Options Exercised $0

Remaining Exercisable (vested) Options (#) 301,250

Remaining Unexercisable (non-vested) Options (#) 268,750

Value of Remaining Exercisable Options $9,616,656

Value of Remaining Unexercisable Options $3,204,843

Data for fiscal year ended in 2004

The following executive officers received the cash bonuses shown below:

Name and Title Amount of Annual Cash Bonus
Patrick J. Talamantes, Chief Financial Officer $170,000
Bob Weil, Vice President, Operations $200,000
Frank Whittaker, Vice President, Operations $220,000
Howard Weaver, Vice President, News $129,000

—SEC report 2006.

These figures are just “‘at-a-boy” bonuses. Just triple the figures and see how much the suits made out.
Here is what they received two years ago:

Frank R.J. Whittaker
Vice President Operations $1,277,252

Robert Weil
Vice President Operations $1,257,148

Patrick Talamantes
Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer $1,003,908

Howard Weaver
Vice President News $726,720

Let’s look at McClatchy stock (MNI) on the NYS exchange. The past 12 months high – $56.12, The past 12 months low – $36.95

Today’s price — $36.91. Whoopsie! If that price holds or drops this afternoon, it’s new low. After all that wheelin’ and dealin’. Well, time for another board meeting, and editorial executive summit, Palm Springs?

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3 thoughts on “Big Cash Bonuses for Executives — Not oil companies — Newspapers

  1. A1 HEADLINE: “McClatchy Execs Strip Newspapers To Shreds”
    PRINT.
    A1 SUBHEADLINE: “Once Respected Family Newspaper Company Vanishes From Wallstreet”
    PRINT.
    BACKPAGE JUMP HDL: “Layoffs Will Continue…”
    PRINT.
    BACKPAGE QUOTE: “Really, It’s Over? Thank God!” –G. Pruitt
    PRINT.
    END.

  2. Great, punchy heads. The McClatchy papers will survive like cockroaches. They have the two tiered stock system. The “family” has voting rights and the schmuck investors have nonvoting second class stock.

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