Gary Pruitt to get the boot from the Titanic of newspaper failures. McClatchy is a case study in ignorance

CEO Gary Pruitt of the McClatchy News Inc. (mainly newspapers) has made it on Jim Cramer’s Wall of Shame, and Cramer cited MNI’s disastrous acquisition of Knight-Ridder which brought the stock down 82% as the reason for this special honor. The newspaper had been a well-run operation, but Cramer said the acquisition was among the worst he has ever seen. In addition, advertising revenue dropped 16% after subsequent declines. McClatchy has a history of making losing acquisitions, including the Minneapolis Star in 1998. Not only did Cramer give Pruitt a special place on the Wall of Shame, he gave him the middle name “Schemp” after the inept sidekick of the Three Stooges.

Pruitt may be looking for a job on the Obama campaign. The McClatchy family unanimously voted him off the board of directors on Tuesday.

McClatchy stock has crashed to less than a gallon of gas, about $3.20. There is no more wiggle room for stock offers. The stock smells like an old fish wrapped in the Sacramento Bee.

This will be a good candidate for the Wharton School of Business case study in poor management. They let an editor run a Fortune 500 company and run it he did, into a muddy bank of the Sacramento River.

Just when you thought the Mad Money Wall of Shame couldn’t get more crowded, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt comes along and proves, as far as Cramer is concerned, that corporate ineptitude knows no bounds. The head of the struggling newspaper company is a “walking disaster,” according to Cramer. Need some hard evidence of just how poorly Pruitt has been running McClatchy cnbc_comboQuoteMove(‘popup_MNI_ID0EVDAC15839609’);[MNI 3.39 -0.14 (-3.97%) ]
cnbc_quoteComponent_init_getData(“MNI”,”WSODQ_COMPONENT_MNI_ID0EVDAC15839609″,”WSODQ”,”true”,”ID0EVDAC15839609″,”off”,”false”);
? Check out the unbelievable one-year chart of the stock since its acquisition of similarly troubled newspaper company Knight-Ridder last March – MNI is down 82% since the deal.

Tip for Pruitt: You should contact Carlos or Hugo Chavez as an investor like your counter part at the New York Times did. That is your real job, sell shares to anyone who is crazy enough to buy them.

Test: Watch the media response to a billionaire Mexican buying a major share of the New York Times.

There will be very little coverage of it. But if FOX bought that much interest in the NYT there would be outrage and coverage by every media outlet.

Pinchy and Carlos are both are positive about New York Times Co.’s future, and investor Carlos Slim Helu, who has a 6.4% stake in the company, “wants to be along or with us for the ride,” publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in his annual “State of the Times” address.

3 thoughts on “Gary Pruitt to get the boot from the Titanic of newspaper failures. McClatchy is a case study in ignorance

  1. Come on, do a little homework – Pruitt never was an editor, he was previously the company’s General Counsel and publisher of the Fresno Bee. Where’s the credit for all those YEARS that Pruitt was the golden boy of the freakin’ industry? You remember, when the rest of the industry was sending boatloads of employees to the unemployment line while McClatchy remained untouched – a phenomenon attributed universally to Pruitt’s management savvy? Desperation is called for in desperate times, and that’s what the Trib and Knight Ridder aquisitions were about. Let the monday morning quarterbacks such as yourself have their day, but for my money, I’ll take Pruitt over the likes of the Jim Cramers of the world any day when it comes time for someone to take over my company.

  2. You are a Pruitt crotch sniffer? Why was he off to Davos every year? What does he know about economics, politics, free enterprise, or even journalism for that matter?

  3. Nice. Why don’t we start by making what must be your own extensive laundry list of achievements in these areas public that make you such a qualified judge? Somebody, somewhere must have believed in Pruitt for him to have ended up where he is (most notably the McClatchys.) What’s more, I’d be careful about requiring leadership qualifications of leaders given the crotches that you are evidently in to. And what the hell does Davos have to do with anything?

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