Dubow, officers taking pay cut, wage freezes

Moving to bolster employee morale in the face of a looming mass layoff, CEO Craig Dubow has taken a voluntary 17% pay cut equal to $200,000, effective Nov. 1, and extending through next year, Corporate has just announced. Also, all company and division officers will have their salaries frozen next year, according to a memo posted here. Dubow’s base pay is $1.2 million, so the cut leaves him with a $1 million paycheck, excluding any bonus and other benefits.

I’m especially struck by the fact the board of directors is now publicly expressing confidence in Dubow (left), indicating that his job remains secure. Meanwhile, early employee reaction is mixed: “Night has become day, the sun rose in the west, and the seas receded,” one reader says. “But we should not shed many tears for Craig Dubow, who still is hauling in an embarrassing sum. I have to admit it does show management is willing to share some of the pain the rank and file is feeling.”

Questions: Did the board take a formal confidence vote? If so, who made that motion? Why is Dubow the only officer taking a pay cut? Plus, what happens with bonuses?

Dubow cites ‘deep sacrifices’
The memo follows:

Gannett Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Dubow today announced that he will take a voluntary $200,000 (17%) salary reduction beginning November 1 and continuing through 2009. Also, all company and divisional officers will have their salaries frozen for 2009.

“All Gannett employees are making deep sacrifices for their company,” said Dubow. “I have great empathy for those employees and their families who have lost their jobs. I also recognize that our employees are working harder and harder to produce results in a challenging business environment. But I firmly believe the steps we are taking now are necessary and will serve as the foundation for our future success. I want to thank all our employees for their patience and loyalty during these difficult times.”

Gannett Presiding Director Karen Hastie Williams (left) said: “We commend Craig for his leadership in taking this step. The Board is well aware that the company and the media industry generally are experiencing difficult times. The Board believes that the company’s strategic plan has set the right course given the secular and cyclical challenges the company faces. The Board continues to support Craig and his management team and their efforts to lead Gannett into the future.”

Dubow’s big payday: $7.5 million
His total compensation is about $7.5 million, counting base pay, bonus, stock awards, stock options and deferred compensation interest earnings, company spokeswoman Tara Connell told Reuters news service. Dubow volunteered the pay cut to the board, which accepted it, Connell said.

I’ve e-mailed and telephoned Connell for comment.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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