Johnston Press halves take-home pay for management

Senior management at Johnston Press took a 45 per cent pay cut last year by waiving their entitlement to a bonus, the group’s newly released annual report has revealed.

Tim Bowdler, who retired as Johnston Press chief executive at the end of December, saw his take-home pay in 2008 drop from £1.09m to £584,000 – a 46.3 per cent cut.

Chief financial officer Stuart Paterson lost 44.6 per cent of his pay packet – down from £655,000 to £363,000 – and chief operating officer Danny Cammiade earned £342,000, down 44.8 per cent from £620,000 in the previous year.

Management were entitled to a maximum bonus of 150 per cent of their basic salary.

About three quarters of the bonus is based on how profitable the company is. The remaining quarter is based on a series of individual targets, such as audience levels and cost management.

In 2007, Bowdler received a £516,000 bonus, with a further for £304,000 for Paterson and £291,000 for Cammiade.

But the three executive directors all waived their bonus entitlements in 2008 after the publisher reported a 27.9 per cent drop in full-year profits and its biggest revenue fall in history.

“Based on the actual profits achieved for the 2008 financial year, no profit-based bonus was payable,” the company said in its annual report, published this morning.

“Given the reduction in earnings in 2008 and the significant drop in the company’s share price in the year, every director voluntarily agreed to forego any bonus for 2008 and none was paid.”

Shares in Johnston Press have fallen 98.5 per cent in the past two years – from a high of £3.60 to 6.5p today.

In December, the company announced a group-wide pay freeze.

That freeze also applies to management, whose salaries will be frozen at 2008 levels.

Bowdler’s replacement, former Archant chief executive John Fry, joined the company at the beginning of January and will be paid £525,000 this year.

In 2008 Johnston Press reported operating profit of £128.4m on revenue of £531.9m.

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