The chairman and vice chairman of The New York Times Co. have decided to skip their stock-based compensation for 2006 and 2007.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the chairman of the venerable media giant, and the publisher of The New York Times, and Michael Golden, the company’s vice chairman and the publisher of the International Herald Tribune, said they’ll use the savings to create a bonus pool “to reward exceptional performance” by employees who do not participate in the company’s annual bonus plan. “The money will be distributed across all our media groups, as well as corporate, in accordance with their size,” the two executives wrote in a letter to employees that was included in a regulatory filing.
Sulzberger and Golden estimated that $2 million would be available in the 2006 pool from restricted stock units and options, which would be distributed next February. They expect a similar amount will be distributed in February 2008.
Referring to “the challenging period of transition that we and our industry are in” in their letter, the executives seemed to acknowledge the struggles faced by newspapers as printing and distribution costs have risen and advertising revenue has shifted from print to online vehicles. Indeed, The Times’ stock is currently trading at a seven-year low.
“Previous generations have demonstrated that they had the courage, the drive, and the intellectual wherewithal to rise to the challenges they faced,” the two executives wrote in the letter. “Now it is our turn, and we are fully confident that all of us who work for this company today are more than up to the task ahead.”