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Newspaper CEO resigns with $37 million payout

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Craig Dubow

Newspaper CEO resigns with $37 million payout

Gannett head oversaw closing of Tucson Citizen

  • Dubow

The head of the parent company of the Arizona Republic, the shuttered Tucson Citizen - and part owner of the Arizona Daily Star operation - resigned Thursday. Gannett CEO Craig Dubow may be paid out as much as $37 million, after leading the company for five years in which the company's stock dropped from $72 to $10.

Dubow, 56, has suffered back problems over the past several years, and began his second medical leave in two years on Sept. 15.

He is positioned to to collect as much as $37.1 million in retirement and disability benefits. Gannett's president and chief operating officer, 60-year-old Gracia C. Martore, succeeds him. Marjorie Magner, 62, an independent member of the board since 2006, was named non-executive chairman.

From company watchdog Gannett Blog:

The company's stock was worth $72 a share when Dubow became CEO. But it plunged alongside other newspaper stocks, trading as low as $1.85 in March 2009 amid fears the company was headed for bankruptcy. It closed today at $10.45, down a penny.

Gannett publishes USA Today, the Arizona  Republic and Des Moines Register, among a total of about 100 daily newspapers throughout the U.S. and U.K.

The company maintains an ownership interest in the Arizona Daily Star, a legacy of the joint operating agreement with that paper's publisher, Lee Enterprises. Altough Gannett stopped the press at its local paper, the Tucson Citizen, in May 2009, the company still takes a share of the earnings of the South Park Avenue operation.

Under Dubow's tenure, Gannett has seen its revenues fall from $7.6 billion in 2005 to $5.4 billion in 2010.

As the company has lost revenue and seen readership plunge, it has laid off thousands of employees. The company's workforce dropped from 52,600 in December 2005 to 32,600 at the end of last year. Included in those who lost their jobs were the 65 staffers of the Tucson Citizen, and dozens at the Republic and Star.

Dubow saw his compensation increase throughout his time with the company. While his base pay was $1.2 million, his total pay in 2010 - including stock options - was $9.4 million. That doubled what he was paid in 2009.

“I’ve been with Gannett for 30 amazing years,” Dubow said in a press release. “I am extremely proud of where we are today as a company. We have always maintained an unwavering focus on the consumer. As a result, we have evolved into a digitally led media and marketing solutions company committed to delivering trusted news and information anywhere, anytime. For me, the decision to step down was difficult, but I must now focus on my health and my family. I will miss working with the talented team at Gannett and firmly believe the company’s best days lie ahead. Gannett is in good hands under Gracia’s leadership and well positioned to succeed going forward.”

Disclosure: Dylan Smith is a former Tucson Citizen employee.

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