Executive sweet: For top brass, lunch really is free

[Plenty o’ perquisites: Document shows value of free meals, etc.]

As Gannett eliminates more jobs and freezes its pension plan, CEO Craig Dubow (left) and other big wheels tightened their belts this year, public documents show: They gave up their company-paid country club memberships, and home security systems. (Well, all but Dubow, anyway.)

Of course, they still collect many other special benefits, spurring an ongoing debate among Gannett Blog readers. “It makes me sick to my stomach,” one reader said on this post. “They are so out of touch! They have no idea what it’s like to work at the local business units. I have to bring in my own copy paper because we have no money left in the office supply budget! It’s the freaking truth! But these fat cats get free lunch delivered to their office? OMG!”

But another reader says the benefits are no big deal: “You know what makes me sick? Misinformation. It says right in the proxy the lunches are paid for. BFD. Instead of complaining about each and everything someone ‘gets,’ how about doing something that makes a difference? Come up with something new? Figure out a way to save. Geez.”

Document reveals payments
The top brass does get free lunch — and a whole lot more, according to the 2007 proxy report to shareholders. That is a public document filed annually with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The value of the free lunches and other benefits is shown in a column called “All other compensation” (see table, top of this post). The payments are part of the total compensation paid to five top executives identified in the proxy.

Those executives are Dubow, now-retired newspaper division chief Sue Clark-Johnson; Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore; USA Today Publisher Craig Moon (left), and Newsquest CEO Paul Davidson.

Here’s a breakdown of their all-other compensation for 2007, according to the company; it’s worth noting that these kind of benefits are common among U.S. companies:

  • premiums paid by the company for supplemental medical coverage
  • home security system allowance (see note, below)
  • company-provided automobile
  • club membership fee allowance (note, below)
  • occasional personal use of company aircraft
  • company-provided lunch during working hours, as needed
  • legal and financial services
  • relocation benefits
  • premiums paid by the company for travel accident insurance, which for Dubow amounted to $32,708 in each of 2007 and 2006.
  • The executives also occasionally receive tickets to sporting events for personal use if the tickets are not needed for business use, for which the company does not incur incremental costs.
  • Beginning in 2008, the company will no longer provide its senior executives with any allowance for home security systems (other than for Dubow) or club membership fees.

All other compensation also includes an annual premium paid by the company on a life insurance policy for Clark-Johnson ($40,700); and for fiscal year 2006 includes the annual premiums paid by the company on life insurance policies as follows: Dubow, $40,506; Martore, $22,144; Clark-Johnson, $30,368; and Moon, $24,584. (No such premium was listed for Davidson.)

Finally, here’s the full list of salaries, bonuses and other payments for 2007 to the five highest-paid executives; click on the image for a bigger view.

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23 Responses to “Executive sweet: For top brass, lunch really is free”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s a section of the ethics policy Gannett shows on the company site:
    “PROTECTION AND PROPER USE OF COMPANY ASSETS

    All directors, officers, and employees should protect the Company’s assets and ensure their efficient use. Theft, carelessness and waste have a direct impact on the Company’s profitability. All Company assets should be used for legitimate business purposes.”
    —————-

    If the execs. are using the company aircraft and sports tickets for non-business purposes, wouldn’t that violate the ethics policy?
    I’ll have to agree with them that waste has a direct impact on profitability. Will someone please tell me how Gannett defines “waste?”

  2. Anonymous Says:

    someone here needs to explain to me what makes ANYONE worth this kind of money, at any company,in any business.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Waste. N. Anything spent at local business units that does not directly benefit senior executives. Examples: staff, newsprint, mileage reimbursement, pens, copy paper, overtime as needed, software.

  4. rmichem Says:

    Jim, How much does Tara make?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Hey 9:47 AM
    Here’s Gannett’s explanation, straight out of the proxy statement you can see on the company’s official site, under investor relations.
    “How Amounts and Types of Compensation are Determined

    In determining compensation of our NEOs, the Committee relies on its collective judgment of each NEO’s performance in light of the challenges confronting our core business and our strides in achieving our strategic plan focused on competing successfully in the digital age. The Committee weighs subjective and objective information regarding our NEOs, including their leadership, innovation, collaboration, management experience, performance history, complexity of position and responsibilities, term of service, competitive alternatives in the marketplace, achievement of individually designed key performance indicators (KPIs) and internal pay equity. KPIs include, where appropriate, revenue and net income goals for the Company and the respective divisions over which each NEO has operational or overall responsibility, new products and programs in support of the Company’s strategic plan, leadership and diversity initiatives, First Amendment activities, and other significant qualitative objectives.”

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I’ve never understood how / why people who can afford perks are given perks.

    We’re often told perks are provided to hire / retain excellent and innovative leaders. But, given Gannett’s performance during the past 3 years it’s obvious this is not the case.

    But until the board of director grow a spine and actually make strong and decisive changes, we’re stuck with individuals taking advantage of today’s business climate at the expense of the majority.

    If Gannett executives are serious about change, then they should be the first to make deep sacrifices – forgoing their perks and excessive bonuses (obvious waste based on performance)- as an example.

    Who knows what kind of resources could be saved at the operating units that would be beneficial to the overall bottom line … in addition to a boost in overall morale.

    Is that asking too much? No. And it’s morally repugnant if they don’t step forward. Soon. Even if it is too late.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I am fighting gannett as an employee over “short term disability sick pay” and they are getting free lunches? They told me I should of went back to work to a “medium level job” on 60 mg. a day of morphine seventeen days ago. Cost to me 1,500.00 dollars they are trying to steal from me. And you can’t work, nor drive without breaking arizona state law,around printing presses on drugs.Nor is threr “light duty” in the pressroom. Who the hell do these people think they are!!!!They are refusing to pay me and I am ready to take their asses to small claims court for the money owed to me! this is what is happening at “the Arizona Republic” in phoenix. They have a insurance administartor whom denies all claims regardless so they get to keep YOUR money. Another person got in a motorcycle accident and they initially denied him too after being in the hospital till he got a lawyer involved! Is this happening to anyone else? Please tell me and let me know. These executives are still out of touch and noware just “common street thugs” stealing off the sick. I say this because gannett is self insured and this is their policies! Yes, You can judge a company by the way they treat their “sick” and “old” employees! If anyone else this is happening please reply1 thanks for the Blog Jim!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    if you guys are not happy, you need to look for something else, stop crying!!

    Bitching won’t help, whatever you are saying will do nothing but cause you more pain. You need to wake up!!

    You guys are nothing put bunch of ******, you are lucky you have jobs

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Anon @ 2:29 …

    I’m very awake – and aware of what poor management is doing to this company.

    And I’m grateful for this forum where those of us who still care very much for this company – but have been soured by the poor decisions that have plagued GCI – have a voice. Because no other venue exists.

    Maybe the bitching (as you call it) won’t help, but it sure makes me feel better. If anything it relieves stress and makes me feel better.

    Am I lucky I have a job? Yes. Definitely. So are you. Even if you don’t work for Gannett.

    Next time, instead of attacking – be it in this forum or where you work – why don’t you step back and listen. Maybe you can forge a relationship with someone with a different opinion that will actually make a difference, in Gannett and in your life.

    God bless you.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Sounds like 2:29 is one of those receiving the perks. Is that you Craig?

    I am totally disabled due to Gannett and have fought for 4 years to get my insurance and disability payments. It is amazing how the
    ‘conversion’ of Group Term insurance, contrary to the YBR info is only available as a Whole Life policy. My rates went from less than $800 per quarter to over
    $6,000 per quarter. Corporate blamed insurance company, I contacted insurance company, they provided a copy of the plan the company signed in 1995 and it clearly stated that individual conversion would NOT be at “Term Rates”. I am filing formal complaint with the state insurance commission for the misrepresentation by Gannett.
    I’m sure I am not alone…we can’t get what we are owed and paid for yet the NEO’s get millions in perks they don’t deserve or pay for.
    Gannett is an ethically and morally corrupt.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    bitching won’t get you too far. have a beer and enjoy your day!!

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Same ignorant mentality of those two previous bloggers”Well it isn’t happening to me so just be glad to have a job, and have a beer!” I do have beers and still do work and I know one of these days it will happen to them and then maybe “I” should be just as ignorant as the other people responses! IGNORANCE divides! wake up or are you two too drunk to see? thanks again for the blog and thanks to the other person who replied to “Gannett staeling off the sick and disabled” How low will they go to get their perks!!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    It’s the good for nothing fatbottoms in VA who should be down on their knees giving thanks for remaining employed.

    Apparently they’re much too busy sucking at the corporate teat and effing our company to do much on their knees.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    @ 2:29

    I guess you would have told the French undground to stop b*t*ching during the Nazi ocupation of France as well. It is our right and duty to point out mis management, hypocrisy, and other management behaviors that our taking the company down. Thank god we have this blog. Management is out of touch and there is nothing wrong with pointing that out.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    From an earlier post…

    “I’ve never understood how / why people who can afford perks are given perks.”

    And an even earlier post…

    “They {Gannett} are so out of touch!

    Sorry, it is we Gannett employees who are out of touch. Gannett isn’t there for us… Gannett is about them, a Giant Corporate Jerk-off!

    We employees have been kept barefoot, pregnant and ignorant. It’s for our own good. 🙂

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I quit! This is so freaking disgusting! Just an example; I know our bonus dollars for company execs at corporate were cut significantly this year for last years goals. We were told the company didn’t preform, the economy, etc and accepted it. Then you look at the top execs and they didn’t get a reduced bonus payout!! It really is just plain ole’ crazy how they openly abuse their position and feel they are deserving of better than the corporate staff, field workers and managers or frankly anyone else. F them!!!!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Folks,
    Look at how old this management team is. The reason why the life insuance is so expensive is because people like Craig Moon are still employed here. That guy is too old to be an executive. He has lost all his knowledge and is a danger to Gannett. Furthermore, these old timers are so old that they need drivers since they can’t drive themselves.
    Please have some compassion for these old timers.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Would like to know if Gannett is guilty of this:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121761989739205497.html?mod=most_viewed_day

  19. Anonymous Says:

    The proxy says, “Company-provided lunch during working hours, as needed.” That means every now and then, if they’re too busy to go to the cafeteria or out to lunch, or if they’re in meeting. It’s not supposed to mean that they’re entitled to free lunch every day. If any of them gets free lunch every day, then they’re abusing a perk in bad faith.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Have any of you ever taken a look at a typical day for any of the top management? These are people who consider themselves lucky if they can get home to see their families after putting in 14 to 16 hour days, trying to find a way to turn the rudder of a huge ship and to save as many newsroom jobs as they can. They do this day in and day out. So the next time that you’re down in the cafeteria enjoying your Gannett-subsidized lunch, remember that the people up on the top floor of corporate don’t even get a lunch break; if they’re lucky, someone brings them a quick bite to eat while they have 10 minutes alone to eat at their desk and prepare for their next appointment. The rest of the time they’re usually working through lunch, hosting lunch meetings or board meetings.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    I free lunches piss you off- How about Big Al getting a new vehicle every 2-3 years? We’re not talking about a Kia either. Don’t ask about his staff that is being paid for by Gannett.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Have any of you ever taken a look at a typical day for any of the top management?

    What are you talking about? You have got to be one of those ‘top management’ people to post that. Have you ever taken a look at a typical day for the average Gannett employee? We are all working 14 hour days. When there are layoffs do you thing that the work load for these people magically walks out the door with those people? No it doesn’t. It rest on the average Gannett worker that is ‘Lucky’ to still have a job. We are all working hard just not with all the extras that they get as top management. The problem is not that they get these incentives; it’s that they are not cutting back like we are being asked to do. Oh yea, they lost country club memberships. Big cut! We are feeling real pain and they just make token cuts. Then you come on here ask for sympathy?? You are not in the real Gannett world to make a post like that.
    Next, I personally think they are doing a lousy job anyway. Should they not have their compensation tied to the performance of the company? We are tied to the performance. We get laid off, hiring stops, pay freezes. They are untouchable. If they do get fired they are set for life, so when they mess up the worst that happens is they lose an alarm system and country club? Oh and if they really really mess up they get millions in pensions? What happened to our pensions? Do not ask me to sympathize with them at all!

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Anonymous said…
    The proxy says, “Company-provided lunch during working hours, as needed.” That means every now and then, if they’re too busy to go to the cafeteria or out to lunch, or if they’re in meeting. It’s not supposed to mean that they’re entitled to free lunch every day. If any of them gets free lunch every day, then they’re abusing a perk in bad faith.

    8/05/2008 9:44 AM

    Take it from someone in the know: The free lunch is there every day including the Executive Assistants that work for them (some of them feed family members of this treat). Looking at this closer I much prefer for the Executive Assistants getting this perk – at least they work for it compared to the dismal performance of the Executives.

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