Guardian CEO Andrew Miller has been awarded a bumper salary and bonus of £2.2m despite the company losing £33.8m. Miller, who runs the Guardian News and Media group, justified the bonus because he oversaw the sale of the company’s share in the AutoTrader magazine.
Terrible results are pretty standard for the Guardian, which has been reliant on profits from the AutoTrader for years but this year saw an especially disastrous final year loss. What is unusual is that they have chosen to richly reward their CEO despite losing a fortune.
He got a £1.4 million “long-term” bonus, on top of his salary of £696,000, with some other benefits thrown in as well. The package made him one of the best paid media bosses in the country, whilst presiding over one of the least successful media companies.
It was not all bad news for the group though, as turnover climbed by seven percent to £210.2 million, largely due to digital growing by a quarter to £69.5 million. However print revenues stayed “broadly flat” according to the More Media Nonsense Blog.
Also the sale of AutoTrader means that the Guardian Media Group (GMG) itself made a profit on paper of £549.2 million. But this was only because it banked £619 million from selling its fifty percent stake in Trader Media Group, owner of Auto Trader, to Apax Partners. Had it not sold AutoTrader, GMG would also have made a huge loss.
Despite the company’s ‘holier than thou’ reputation it has also profited from tax dodges in recent years. As reported on the Guido Fawkes blog, the company avoided stamp duty due to a complicated arrangement in the Cayman Islands.
Tax lawyers at GMG have ensured that this year it paid just £1.4 million in corporation tax. The company insists that the profits from the sale of AutoTrader were not liable for tax under the Substantial Shareholdings Exemption rule. A matter that is likely to cause some debate.
In 2013 Andrew Miller admitted that the Guardian Newspaper had no future and was likely to go fully online within the next few years.