The New York Times, which six months ago forced staffers to take a 5% paycut, has been overpaying its publisher and CEO for nearly two years in violation of its own compensation rules. We're supposed to bail these people out?
So far this year, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and CEO Janet Robinson have each been granted half a million stock options, and Robinson got 650,000 options last year. And for the past 19 months, they've been paid under a plan that allows for up to $3.5 million in annual bonuses.
Trouble is, in 1991, the Times adopted rules barring its executives from getting more than 400,000 stock options and $3 million in bonuses in any given year. On Friday, the company disclosed the errors in an SEC filing and restructured Sulzberger and Robinson's packages so as to bring them in compliance with the Times' own rules.
Aside from the sheer incompetence of the Times' apparent failure to have a compliance attorney look over the compensation packages of its two most important executives, we're stunned that the board was actually contemplating giving them bonuses for 2009. The 2009 bonus for New York Times staffers was 5 cents of every dollar getting taken out of their paychecks for the good of the ailing company. The 2009 bonus for Sulzberger and Robinson? Half a million dollars more than they're even allowed to be paid.