Bonuses for loss-making GMG bosses

The bosses at two of Guardian Media Group‘s struggling divisions both picked up bonuses in the last financial year.

Mark Dodson, chief executive of local newspapers division GMG Regional, received a performance-related bonus of £47,000. This took his total pay to £309,000, compared with £403,000 in the previous year.

GMG Regional made a profit in 2008/2009 of £500,000 on turnover of £94.5m. According to the report it has been loss-making for the last six months.

GMG elected to pay no financial target related bonuses for the 2008/09 financial year, but it did pay bonuses based on “personal objectives”. This was the bonus which Dodson was given.

Former chief executive of GMG Radio John Myers more than doubled his total pay this year to £545,000 compared to £227,000 for 2007/8 thanks to a ‘loyalty bonus’of £333,000. GMG Radio made an operating loss of £6.6m (compared with £0.1m profit in 2008) on turnover of £46.6m

Doing less well last year were GMG chief executive Carolyn McCall and Guardian News and Media managing director Tim Brooks who both voluntarily waived the proportion of their bonuses based on personal objectives.

McCall saw her total pay drop from £827,000 the previous financial year to £498,000. Pay for Tim Brooks dropped from £386,000 to £256,000.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s pay rose by ten per cent last year to £429,000 – reflecting the fact that 2008/2009 was the first full financial year in which he was editor-in-chief of both The Guardian and The Observer. Rusbridger has volunteered to take a 10 per cent pay cut for the current financial year.

Guardian News and Media made a loss in the year to April of £36.8m and GMG overall made an operating loss of £89m.

Members of the NUJ chapel at the Manchester Evening News have condemned the bonus payout for Dodson.

In a statement the joint mothers of chapel Bethan Dorsett, Jennifer Williams and Judy Gordon said: “This has been the worst year in Guardian Media’s history. At the Manchester Evening News and its weekly titles alone, more than 70 jobs have been axed and all our local newspaper offices have vanished.

“Our members in GMG Regional Media, including Surrey and Berkshire, have been asked to make huge sacrifices – is it too much to ask that CEO Mark Dodson sacrifice his bonus (as many of his fellow directors have done)?

‘That bonus could have paid the salaries of two weekly reporters. It could have avoided some of the compulsory redundancies on the MEN.

‘Mr Dodson says that all our sacrifices have been to secure the future of GMG Regional and ultimately the Guardian. So why is he not prepared to sacrifice his bonus – the equivalent of nearly 10 per cent of our slim profits?”

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