NYT business reporter/columnist Gretchen Morgenson loves corporate scandals, and she rounds up the year’s greatest hits for an illustrated, above-the-fold story, “The Big Winner, Again, Is ‘Scandalot,’” for Sunday’s Business section year-end wrap-up.
“Same stuff, different year. That’s one way to look at 2005, the fourth consecutive year in which corporate chicanery loomed large….Greed was on display throughout 2005 as throngs of executives pocketed pay that was even greater than the previous year’s. To hear them talk, they deserved the amounts because -- are you sitting down? -- they enhanced shareholder value. Never mind that many of their companies’ stocks ended the year lower than where they began it.”
Speaking of corporations that had disappointing stock performances in 2005...
The New York Observer reports this week: “A year ago -- on Jan. 3, 2005 -- Times stock closed at 47.2. On Jan. 3, 2006, the stock was trading at a day’s low of 26.16.”
Does that mean that Times bigwigs like Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. didn’t pocket any additional pay? Not exactly, says the Observer:
“According to Times sources, the yearly bonuses -- given to section editors and selected senior staff -- can be equivalent to 20 percent of their salary or even more. Mr. Keller’s memo informed the senior staff that the 2005 bonuses, which will be issued in February, will be lower than the potential maximum. So the real surprise to staffers was, instead, the generous holiday handouts on the paper’s 14th floor. In addition to [Times chief executive Janet] Robinson’s 74,000 shares of free Class A stock, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. received 30,000 shares, worth a bit less than $800,000, plus stock options worth about $4.1 million….The news of executive stock gifts rankled some Times newsroom staffers, who are still smarting from the paper’s layoffs, hiring freeze, reduced expense policy and -- most galling -- the cancellation in December of The Times’ 15 percent discount for employees on stock purchases.”
So, corporate executives got rich while the (relatively) poor employees lost ground or were laid off?
It’s a safe bet that this is one expose of a seemingly heartless corporation that won’t be appearing in the New York Times anytime soon.
For more examples of NYT bias, visit TimesWatch.