According to a regulatory filing on Friday, a former New York Times CEO was paid a total of almost $24 million after she left the newspaper last year.
Janet Robinson, who spent 28 years with the company still has not been replaced. Her position is being temporarily filled by Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (in 2011, Sulzberger received $5.9 million in total compensation).
Robinson’s payout consisted of a $4.5 million consulting fee that the NYT pension benefits, performance-related payments. A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicates that Robinson was going to be paid the same amount whether she left voluntarily or if she was terminated or resigned.
A Reuters Report wrote the following:
The Times which, like other U.S. newspaper publishers, has been struggling with sinking advertising revenue and dwindling print subscribers, said it had 406,000 paying digital subscribers at the end of 2011 after it rolled out an online pay system last year.
The company started 2012 without a CEO or a digital boss after both Robinson and former digital head Martin Nisenholtz retired.
Sulzberger said on February 2 The Times was in the early stages of searching for an executive with digital and brand-building experience to help guide its long-term growth strategy.
The focus on an improved digital strategy helped circulation revenue grow 5 percent to $241.6 million in the fourth quarter, The Times said.
Bloomberg reported further details on the buyout, indicating that Robinson will receive pension and supplemental retirement income worth $11.4 million, performance awards valued at $5.39 million, restricted stock units totaling $1.07 million and stock options presently valued at $694,164 as listed on the company’s proxy statement that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. According to the statement, Robinson will also earn $4.5 million in consulting fees in 2012.
Bloomberg summarized Robinson’s exit as an irony amidst the journalism crisis in which many newspapers have faced financial hardship, reporting that, “Robinson’s exit, which costs Times Co. more than the company earned in the past four years, marks an end to a period during which the publisher’s sales and earnings slumped amid intensifying online competition. Times Co. (NYT) stock plunged more than 80 percent during Robinson’s tenure as CEO, which began in December 2004.”
Bloomberg also reported there had been union pressure on the Times lately and that the Times began proposing buyout packages last year to reduce their staff by 20 newsroom positions. They’ve also proposed a pension freeze for various Times employees, which has upset many of the union members there.