Postmedia Chief Executive Paul Godfrey is flatly rejecting any comparisons between his firm and Bombardier when it comes to executive compensation. In an interview on BNN Monday, he defended the $2.3 million worth of retention bonuses paid out to five executives in the wake of Postmedia’s restructuring, despite news three of those executives are leaving the company.
“There’s quite a big difference between Bombardier and Postmedia,” he said in reference to the furor that has erupted over executive pay packages at the plane and train maker.
Godfrey said the bonuses paid out at his firm were due to stipulations made by an investor in the company.
“They did that so the executives would stay on during this whole restructuring process. The executives did stay on through the restructuring process and developed the strategy going forward.”
Godfrey didn’t close the door on changes to his own compensation amid the cost-cutting efforts. Godfrey made $1.66 million in 2016, including a $900,000 retention bonus. Postmedia’s total compensation expenses fell 14.8 per cent in the first quarter.
Godfrey did not disclose the depth of further cuts, but the company had earlier targeted a 20 per cent reduction in staffing costs. Godfrey said the rounds of cost-cutting are not restricted to his firm.
“The fact is, this is an industry in distress,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is to do more cuts, but it may become a necessity based on what we see, and what every other newspaper in this country sees. Postmedia is not alone.”
Despite the continued cost-cuts, Godfrey disputed National Post Founder Conrad Black’s recent assertion that bond holders are “content to bleed [Postmedia] dry with the complicity of management.”
“That is not true at all. Mr. Black does not have this in the right frame of mind,” he said. “If it wasn’t for these people who had bonds [and] converted them to equity, there’d be no Postmedia today.”
Godfrey also noted the toll continued cost cuts are taking on workplace morale.
“When you’re in constant cutting mode, the morale is not good, here or anywhere else [in media],” he said “I’m not here to fool anybody saying morale is super, because morale isn’t super.”
“Morale’s not even good at the executive level.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously identified an unnamed Postmedia investor. BNN regrets the error.