ProJo parent company CEO earned $3.4M in 2022, a 56% cut in compensation

GANNETT CEO Mike Reed earned 56% less pay in 2022 than the year prior, the parent company reported of the Providence Journal in its Schedule 14A securities filing Friday. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ARTISTIC IMAGES

PROVIDENCE Gannett CEO Mike Reed experienced a big pay cut in 2022 but still earned $3.38 million that year, according to financial information filed Friday by the parent company of The Providence Journal.

The Schedule 14A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission noted that Reed’s 2022 compensation was 66 times higher than the $51,035 median salary received by Gannett employees.

The filing also noted that Reed earned $7.75 million in 2021, which would mean he was paid 56% less in 2022.

Reed’s compensation in 2022 consisted of a salary of $859,615 combined with a bonus of $513,652 and $2 million in stock awards. 

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Gannett Chief Financial Officer Douglas Hourne earned $2.2 million in 2022. 

The McLean, Va.-based company owns and operates several papers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including The Providence Journal, The Taunton Gazette, The Newport Daily News, The Cape Cod Times, The Herald News in Fall River, The Worcester Telegram and The Standard-Times in New Bedford. Gannett also owns publications in nearly every state in the nation, as well as operations in the United Kingdom. 

On Feb. 23, the company reported a year-end loss that narrowed to $78 million in 2022, or 57 cents per diluted share.  

Company revenue totaled $2.95 billion in 2022, a decline from $3.21 billion one year prior. Same-store revenue decreased 7% year over year.  

Gannett previously reported substantial losses in the prior two quarters – a $53.7 million loss in the second quarter of 2022 and a $54.1 million loss in the third quarter.   

On Aug 12, Gannett laid off more than 400 employees at several locations. Then the company announced companywide cost-cutting measures on Oct. 13 that included five mandatory unpaid furlough days between Dec. 19-30, suspension of the company’s 401(k) match, voluntary severance package offers and an optional four-day workweek. It also announced a new round of staff reductions in December.   

The number of job cuts was not specified. However, a Gannett executive told The Poynter Institute for Media Studies Inc. the company was targeting a 6% reduction, or about 200 of its 3,400 newsroom employees.   

On Dec. 15, Lynne Sullivan was named regional executive editor of The Providence Journal and The Newport Daily News. She succeeded David Ng, who was laid off at the beginning of the month as part of Gannett’s job cuts.  

On Feb. 3, Gannett announced that it used the proceeds from real estate sales totaling $21.3 million in January to reduce its first debt lien by $22.3 million.   

“We also continued to make significant progress towards debt reduction, repaying $47 million of debt while ending the year with a cash balance of $94 million,” Reed said. “We believe we are well-positioned to further improve our overall capital structure in 2023 due to the expected improvement in free cash flow along with continued real estate asset sales. We are pleased to enter 2023 with solid liquidity, a healthy balance sheet and a robust real estate asset sales pipeline which we believe will allow us to continue our aggressive debt repayment strategy.” 

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