Greedy big shots at NYT Company blasted by watchdog group

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Keith Kelly of the New York Post reports on the latest critic to join AT in noting that the New York Times' top management continues to grant itself lavish compensation, while business results are poor and tockholders have lost almost half their investment in the past couple of years:

The whopping stock grants given to New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and President and CEO Janet Robinson last year were blasted by a proxy watchdog service, which gave the company's executive compensation a barely passing grade of "D."

Restricted stock awards made to Robinson in 2005 increased nearly fivefold from a year earlier to approximately $2 million, noted the Glass Lewis proxy report, which was released late last week.

Sulzberger's own stock awards nearly doubled in that timeframe to approximately $817,500. [....]

The report prepared by Glass Lewis and released late last week also ripped the Times company's decision to eliminate a plan that gave employees a 15 percent discount to purchase stock through payroll deductions.

The Employee Stock Purchase Plan had bought 1 million shares in both 2003 and 2004 before the elimination of the discount in 2005. [....]

...members of the compensation committee are appointed by the Class B stockholders, who are essentially members of the family trust composed of Sulzbergers and Ochs, who have controlled the company for years.

Like many family—run companies that go public, there are two classes of stock. The Times board has 13 board members, and only five are said to be insiders or affiliated with insiders who control the Class B stock.

The family trust controls 88.6 percent of the Class B stock, and in turn elects 70 percent of the board of directors. The Class A stock elects 30 percent of the board. The biggest institutional holders of the Class A stock include Private Capital Management; T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research. Glass Lewis prefers boards with an even lower percentage of affiliates and insiders.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson  4 1 06

Keith Kelly of the New York Post reports on the latest critic to join AT in noting that the New York Times' top management continues to grant itself lavish compensation, while business results are poor and tockholders have lost almost half their investment in the past couple of years:

The whopping stock grants given to New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and President and CEO Janet Robinson last year were blasted by a proxy watchdog service, which gave the company's executive compensation a barely passing grade of "D."

Restricted stock awards made to Robinson in 2005 increased nearly fivefold from a year earlier to approximately $2 million, noted the Glass Lewis proxy report, which was released late last week.

Sulzberger's own stock awards nearly doubled in that timeframe to approximately $817,500. [....]

The report prepared by Glass Lewis and released late last week also ripped the Times company's decision to eliminate a plan that gave employees a 15 percent discount to purchase stock through payroll deductions.

The Employee Stock Purchase Plan had bought 1 million shares in both 2003 and 2004 before the elimination of the discount in 2005. [....]

...members of the compensation committee are appointed by the Class B stockholders, who are essentially members of the family trust composed of Sulzbergers and Ochs, who have controlled the company for years.

Like many family—run companies that go public, there are two classes of stock. The Times board has 13 board members, and only five are said to be insiders or affiliated with insiders who control the Class B stock.

The family trust controls 88.6 percent of the Class B stock, and in turn elects 70 percent of the board of directors. The Class A stock elects 30 percent of the board. The biggest institutional holders of the Class A stock include Private Capital Management; T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research. Glass Lewis prefers boards with an even lower percentage of affiliates and insiders.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson  4 1 06