Former Guardian News and Media managing director Tim Brooks left the company with a £510,000 pay-off after his post was made redundant in February last year.
The figure, equivalent to 18 months pay, was revealed in Guardian Media Group‘s annual report released yesterday. Brooks had been in the job for four and a half years.
The report also revealed that GMG appears to have cut around 200 staff over the last year. In 2010 it was said to have an “average monthly total” of 2,311 staff and in 2011 this average was reduced to 2,113
In the year to April, operating losses for GMG increased to £54.5m (from £53.9m) on turnover down £24.9m to £255.1m.
Pay for Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger increased to £439,000 (with a further £16,000 benefits in kind) from £411,000 the year before, when he voluntarily took a 10 per cent pay cut. Rusbridger received a further £150,000 in payments to his pension scheme. In addition to his job as editor, Rusbridger is also a director of GMG.
The annual report reveals that GMG chief executive Andrew Miller was paid a salary of £572,000.
Despite the increasing losses, and a reduction in GMG’s cash and investment fund from £260.8m to £197.4m, Miller said in the report that GMG continued to provide Guardian News and Media – the nationals division – with a ‘stable financial foundation”.
Under the terms of the Scott Trust, which owns GMG, its sole remit is to secure the journalism of The Guardian ‘in perpetuity”.
Miller said that the net value of GMG’s assets increased to £592m in the year to April, (from £585.9m in 2010) and that debt reduced from £72.5m to £64.9m.
Despite the increasing losses for Guardian News and Media, the Scott Trust has said that it remains wedded to a free strategy when it comes to online content.
Chair of the trust Dame Liz Forgan described 2010/2011 as ‘an eventful year in commercial terms – and one requiring difficult decisions”.
She added: ‘Along with every other media organisation we face enormous challenges in the coming years as advertising and readers move ever faster from print on paper to the web, resulting in the destabilisation of traditional business models. In the new war of the worlds between open and closed information systems, the Guardian has championed the former with passion.
“Open is in our DNA, in our liberalism, in our journalism and in our relationship with readers. Our model therefore conforms in a profound sense with our values and our culture. But the challenge to find new sources of revenue in new markets across the world is a tough one to which the whole company is dedicated.”
GMG’s before-exceptional-items operating loss for the year to April of £54.5m comprised a loss of £38.3m at Guardian News and Media, £3.3m at GMG Radio, £1.8m at GMG Property Services and £11.1m from “other group activities”. Its profitable joint ventures, Emap and Trader Media Group, are audited separately.
Including restructuring costs and amortisation (writing down the value of assets), the GNM nationals division made an operating loss of £41.6m in the year to April on turnover of £198.2m, this included restructuring costs of £3.3m.
This was an improvement on last year’s GNM operating loss of £55.3m which included restructuring costs of £12.9m.