New York Times unloads on Gannett CEO


A few months after using its pages for a hatchet job that got the CEO of Tribune Company pushed out, the New York Times has now attacked the CEO of another competing media company: Gannett.

The article denouncing Gannett CEO Craig Dubow quotes an unidentified USA Today staffer as calling the compensation packages for Dubow and COO Gracia Martore “incredibly galling” while claiming that “they have squandered every opportunity to make the kind of changes necessary for the company to survive.” Played up in the story is the headcount, which has gone from 52,000 employees to 32,000 in the five years that Dubow has been CEO.

Not mentioned is the fact that the company has added positions in certain growth areas, such as online and television. Gannett even managed to increase cash flow for its struggling newspaper division in Q4, even as revenues continued to decline along with the rest of the newspaper industry.

The Times story hit Gannett for two years of mandatory furloughs for employees, which saved $33 million, then noted that the company’s top six managers, including Dubow and Martore, received 2010 compensation packages totaling more than $28 million. The article does concede that the majority of that compensation is non-cash, so the execs will only receive most of that value if the company’s stock does well going forward.

Like the October article targeting then-Tribune Company CEO Randy Michaels, the Times attack on Dubow was written by David Carr, who is the paper’s media columnist.

RBR-TVBR observation: Will the directors of the Gannett Company be as cowardly as their counterparts at Tribune who let a competing company dictate how they should run their business? Not likely.