It was one of those touching stories of shared sacrifice.
Gannett CEO Craig Dubow, rather than condemning any more employees to the unemployment line is giving up a week's salary and is requiring that each of his employees do the same.
While a reporter making $30,000 a year will lose about $576, he or she can ill afford, Dubow will give up an $18,960 chunk. Don't worry about Gannett's head honcho heading for the soup kitchen though. Even after giving up $18,690, his weekly salary, Dubow will receive $968,040 this year, according to a Gannett proxy which lists his annual salary at $1.2 million.
Now if you do the math on that last part, it does not quite work out, but as you might recall, Dubow voluntarily gave up 17 percent of his salary last year. Of course, those figures apply only if Dubow's compensation remains at the $1.2 million annually the board of directors voted to pay him in 2008.
As I noted in the Dec. 3 Turner Report, the sacrifice may not be as much as it seems because so little of Dubow's pay comes from his base salary.
A proxy statement filed March 13 with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Dubow's 2007 compensation included a $1,750,000 bonus, $1,067,980 in stock awards, $3,351,000 in option awards, $57,101 in nonqualified deferred compensation earnings, and $120,629 in "all other compensation."
While the 19 employees fired on Dubow's order at the Springfield News-Leader wonder where their next paycheck will come from, Dubow, as part of his employment agreement receives the following:
-Paid life insurance
-Supplemental medical benefits
-A security system allowance
-Company provided lunch during working hours
-Unspecified legal and financial services
-Tickets to sporting events
-Use of company automobile
-Use of company aircraft
To be fair, Gannett is cutting Dubow's benefits to the bone. The proxy statement indicates Gannett will no longer pay activity and membership fees for its CEO.
And if the Gannett Board decides someday to treat Dubow in the same cavalier manner in which he treated the 1,000 employees who were fired this week and the hundreds more who were fired in recent months, this would be Dubow's reward:
Also, upon termination of employment prior to his 58th birthday, other than by the Company for “cause,” by Mr. Dubow without “good reason,” as a result of death or by reason of Mr. Dubow failing to renew his term of employment, Mr. Dubow’s SERP benefit would reflect service credit as if he had remained employed through his 58th birthday and compensation during the additional service period shall be assumed equal to his annual base salary at the time of termination plus the greater of (1) his most recent incentive bonus or (2) the average of his three most recent incentive bonuses.
If Dubow were to be fired today, based on his most recent annual compensation, since he just turned 54 in October, his severance package would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million.
So while I appreciate Dubow and his fellow Gannett officials at least making an effort to share the pain, having the rich give up a paltry portion of their overall pay package while reporters at the Springfield News-Leader are struggling to pay the bills, is not shared sacrifice no matter how you spin it.