Sunday, August 26, 2018
Contract of GateHouse CEO offering Neosho Daily, Carthage Press buyouts guarantees nearly $4 million severance if he loses job
At least that is the case when it comes to GateHouse Media CEO Kirk Davis. Davis' operating plan of buying hundreds of newspapers, cutting staff and quality, raising prices and then buying more newspapers and doing the same thing has crippled the newspapers he owns and deprived the communities they once served has done everything but put the Carthage Press and Neosho Daily News out of business.
Previous post: GateHouse Media offers voluntary buyouts to all Neosho Daily, Carthage Press employees
Local GateHouse employees have a deadline of Monday afternoon to decide if they will accept the company's voluntary buyout, a severance payment of a week's pay for each year they have worked for the company. A few of them may make a few thousand dollars. Most of them will get almost nothing. And if the number taking the buyout is lower than GateHouse needs to hit its target, the layoffs will begin.
As we have seen in the past, the company will put no thought into what effect these decisions will have on what were once thriving community newspapers.
Kirk Davis faces no buyout. While he continues to promote GateHouse products as the major news source in the small communities whose newspapers it has gobbled up over the past several years, he has overseen one quarter after another of losses, most of them coming not because of the problems that have beset the newspaper industry, but because of his continuing plan of making draconian cuts, while putting nothing back into his products.
While the company was once again losing money in 2017, Davis received a pay package of $1,718,867, including a $750,000 "performance bonus."
How much money could the man make if his newspapers were actually succeeding?
His pay package, which is detailed in an additional definitive proxy statement filed in March with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also shows a base salary of $500,000, restricted stock award of $320,162, $13,384 in health benefits and $15,636 in deferred pension earnings.
Even more impressive is the severance Davis is guaranteed to receive if the company decides it is time to let him go.
If GateHouse decides to fire Davis without cause, his contract guarantees a $1,383,996 and if the decision to let Davis go comes as a result of a change in ownership, the amount goes up to $3,966,604, including a cash severance payment of $2,333,333, $960,437 in restricted stock, $13,834 to continue his health insurance benefits for a year and $9,000 for outplacement services to help him land another job.