The National Union of Journalists has condemned a payout to former Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey of £400,000 under a long-term incentive plan.
It has urged Bailey to renounce the bonus as it welcomed news that pre-tax profits at the newspaper group had risen 2.6 per cent to £101.3m on turnover down 6 per cent year on year to £663.8m.
Bailey stepped down after 10 years in charge of Trinity Mirror at the end of 2012 after grossing £15m in pay, bonuses and perks.
NUJ northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said: “Today’s figures from Trinity Mirror appear to give grounds for cautious optimism that the group is being marshalled in a way that gives room for confidence in the future – particularly with net debt down to more manageable proportions."
Trinity said debt now stands at £97m and that it is on course to further repay £44.2m in June.
But Morley added: “Our members – and I suspect most shareholders – will be astonished that Sly Bailey’s toxic legacy as chief executive will see her rewarded by more than £400,000 for an uplift in the company’s share price that owes absolutely nothing to her.
“Under the Long Term Incentive Plan for executives, she is this month due to reap the money from 197,303 shares that have risen in value to 216p this week – an 80 per cent increase in the last 12 months under her successor as chief executive.
“Sly Bailey amassed a personal fortune worth more than £14 million in pay and perks during her tenure at the helm of Trinity Mirror, a period of huge contraction and pain for employees and shareholders alike. “This payment would be the worst of all her massive undeserved payments and if there is an ounce of honour in her, she should renounce her right to this sum.
“The company should accept the windfall and instead plough it in to quality journalism, the core strength of the business, where it can do most good.”
Current Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox was paid a total of £710,000 in 2013 (pay, perks and bonus). But largely because of payouts under the Long Term Incentive Plan he was the best paid executive on the Trinity Mirror board.
Group finance dirctor Vijay Vaghela was the best paid executive with total remuneration of £908,000, followed by group legal director Paul Vickers on £830k and then chief operating officer Mark Hollinshead on £761,000.