Did compact rivals sink Dacre's bonus?

By Dominic Ponsford

Associated
Newspapers editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has missed out on his bonus as
Daily Mail and General Trust chief executive Lord Rothermere warned of
the threat posed to the Mail titles by the tabloid Times and
Independent.

DMGT’s annual report reveals that Paul Dacre’s pay
and benefits came to £997,000 for 2005 compared with £1.162m in 2004.
However, it is understood that last year’s payment was exceptional in
recognition of Dacre’s performance over 12 years as editor.

Despite
this, he still has the highest salary of any DMGT executive – and any
national newspaper editor. He is also the only executive at the company
on two years’ notice, which means he would be likely to bank more than
£2m if he was ever fired.

By contrast Padraic Fallon, chief
executive of DMGT’s Euromoney magazines and business information
business, banked a £2.142m bonus on top of his £212,000 salary and
benefits package, thanks to a deal that gives him 6.49 per cent of
Euromoney’s pre-tax profits.

Daily Mail circulation fell 1.8 per
cent to 2,385,000 on average in 2005 (compared to an industry average
decline of 2.3 per cent) and The Mail on Sunday circulation fell 0.4
per cent (compared with the 3.1 per cent average).

In his annual
statement, DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere said: “This year’s challenge
was from some broadsheet titles becoming compact and attacking the rich
advertising markets of the Mail titles.

“Unusually, our
circulation performances have been only slightly better than the market
as a whole and we are attending to this.”

On proposals to sell DMGT’s Northcliffe regional newspapers business, he said: “The shareholders’

interests
require us to choose between the effort and expense of growing
Northcliffe’s business and profits and of selling Northcliffe’s UK
operations as a whole. For me, personally, the decision to sell would
be most painful since Northcliffe has been an integral part of DMGT
almost since its foundation in 1922.”

The annual report revealed Rothermere’s 20 per cent shareholding was worth £651.6m as of 2 October.

Rothermere controls the company by owning 63 per cent of the voting shares.

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