John Fry paid almost £1m for first year at Johnston Press

John Fry, the chief executive of Johnston Press, was paid almost one million pounds for his first year at the helm of the regional newspaper publishing group.

Fry, who took over as chief executive on 1 January last year, received a total remuneration of £959,000 in 2009 which included a salary of £525,000, cash and deferred share bonuses worth £420,000, with £14,000 of other benefits.

Over the same period Johnston Press, which publishes the Scotsman and Yorkshire Post, recorded a fall in pre-tax profits of 56 per cent to £43.3m as it wrote down the value of its newspaper titles and closed presses in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Johnston Press was also forced to refinance is debt facility of £485m, in August, albeit at a greatly increased cost of borrowing. In addition, it cancelled the proposed sale of its Irish titles as it was unable to find a buyer willing to meet its valuation of the businesses.

Figures supplied in the group’s annual report show that it also reduced headcount by 14 per cent to a total staff of 6,146 employees last year.

Chief financial officer Stuart Paterson took home £655,000 last year which included a salary of £361,000 and cash and share bonuses worth £292,000.

Despite his salary remaining the same Paterson’s take home pay increased by 80 per cent as he had not been paid a bonus in 2008.

Danny Cammiade, Johnston Press chief operating officer, had a total remuneration of £590,000 last year. This included a salary of £324,000 and cash and share bonuses totalling £248,000.

Like Paterson, Cammiade saw his take home pay increase by 73 per cent, despite his basic salary being frozen, as he had not been paid a bonus the previous year.

Roger Parry, who stepped down as chairman of Johnston Press in April last year, was paid £43,000 by the company – all as salary. His replacement Ian Russell was paid a salary of £114,000.

Union members across Johnston Press are expected to ballot later this month on a possible group-wide strike over the introduction of the controversial Atex content management technology and concerns about low staffing levels.

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