Glacier Media directors pay themselves $1,000 per meeting
For journalists, raises have been difficult to come by in recent times. But over the last two years, those who control Glacier Media have seen their income from the company rise dramatically.
The company’s directors have not only doubled their own pay, but they’ve declared dividends that saw Glacier’s top three executives take home more than $1.8 million–cash paid out on top of $1.72 million in fees handed to the same three executives’ own privately held company.
According to the company’s 2010 annual information form, which you can read here, the company’s directors were paid $10,000 per year for 2009. [NOTE: If links do not work, you can find all documents here. The documents referenced in this post are the “annual information forms” issued in late March of each year.] The directors also received $750 per meeting. This is a part-time gig, the report notes: “The directors and officers of the Company who are non-executive officers have other business interests
and do not devote all of their time to the affairs of the Company.”
The form struck a sombre tone:
“The year ended December 31, 2009 was a challenging year for Glacier due to the recession. During the year the Company implemented significant cost reduction measures to offset the revenue declines and maintain profitability.”
Fast forward one year. Glacier Media had a busy 2010. The company’s annual information form for 2010 (read it here) was more upbeat, citing the “acquisitions and disposals of community newspapers in Western Canada,” and various other acquisitions totaling $24.9 million. They also hired “senior management personnel from outside the newspaper and trade magazine industry to strengthen and complement Glacier’s digital team, and as a result a diverse array of digital initiatives is being implemented.”
Sometime in there, they also determined board members weren’t being paid enough for their services. The company’s 2011 annual information form states: “The directors are each paid $20,000 per year and $1,000 per meeting by the Company in their capacity as directors.”
In other words, their part-time salaries doubled, from $10,000 to $20,000, while their per-meeting pay rose by 33 per cent. The directors paid themselves the same amount in 2011, at least for their directors’ duties. But that’s not to say the company’s top brass didn’t take home much, much more money than the previous year.
Last year, Glacier introduced a new policy in which it will pay a dividend of six cents per common share over the course of the year. For five of the board members, that’s (relative) peanuts. But for CEO Jonathan Kennedy, chairman of the board Sam Grippo, and treasurer/secretary Bruce Aunger, it’s a hefty chunk of cash. The three men are principals in Madison Venture Corporation, which owns 34 per cent of Glacier’s 89.51 million outstanding shares. That’s about 30.43 million shares. Six cents a year for each share works out to $1.82 million to be split among Madison’s three owners
And that is on top of whatever the three take home from Madison itself, which in 2011 was paid $1.72 million dollars for “ongoing administrative, consulting and transaction related services.” In 2008, Madison was paid $611,005. (I don’t know who owns what share of Madison. Grippo has been Madison’s president and CEO since 1976, Kennedy has been a partner since 1997, and Aunger has been executive vice-president and chief financial officer since 1988).
Again, if the direct links to documents did not work, you can find all documents here. The documents referenced in this post are the “annual information forms” issued in late March of each year.
So what does this mean? I don’t know. That’s for readers to figure out. For what it’s worth. Postmedia’s Paul Godfrey also made a killing last year, taking home $1.58 million, including a $465,000 bonus. Probably, it just means that we erred when we decided to become journalists, instead of accountants. I’ve previously expressed positive feelings about Glacier. And despite this and my post a couple weeks ago, I still think it’s better to work for Glacier than Postmedia. At least there is money out there, rather than debt. I would love to see how much David Black took home last year, but alas, that company remains privately held, which means no juicy financial documents for perusal. One day….. One day.
Finally, I’ll note that this post will now officially be Exhibit 1 when it comes to explaining why I am writing this blog anonymously. For obvious reasons, this and other company-focused postings would not get written if you know my name. Thanks for understanding.