Wednesday, April 18, 2007

GateHouse CEO received $1.5 million signing bonus to leave CNHI

When Michael Reed jumped from Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI), owner of the Joplin Globe to become CEO at GateHouse Media, he received an extremely sweet deal, according to a proxy statement filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
GateHouse paid Reed a $1.5 million signing bonus, $16,500 for relocation and awarded him a three-year contract, according to the proxy statement, which was issued prior to the company's May 17 annual stockholders meeting in Pittsford, N. Y.

During 2006, Reed received compensation worth $6,457,868, the proxy statement indicated, including the $1.5 million bonus, the relocation money, his annual salary of $441,308, a performance-based bonus of $200,000, and stock valued at $4,299,000.
The proxy statement also detailed the earnings and fringe benefits of chief operating officers Randy Cope of Neosho and Scott Champion.
Cope, the former publisher of the Neosho Daily News, and Champion each received compensation worth $543,300, including $200,000 salaries, $200,000 performance-based bonuses, and stock valued at $143,300.

Under terms of their contracts, GateHouse's three top officers will land on their feet if they are ever fired or if the company is ever sold. The proxy statement indicated Champion would receive $464,000, Champion $928,000, and Cope $556,800.

GateHouse Media, which recently has been on a newspaper-buying frenzy, owns The Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Big Nickel, and the Neosho Post in this area.

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