Projo parent company’s top four execs share $1.7M in bonuses

Robert Decherd
Robert Decherd

The Providence Journal’s parent company gave its top executives pay raises and $1.7 million in bonuses in 2012 as they eked out an annual profit for the first time.

A.H. Belo awarded CEO Robert Decherd $1.9 million in 2012, up from $1.6 million in 2011 and $499,180 in 2009, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing.

Decherd’s compensation included a $567,692 salary, bumped up from $480,000 in 2011; $705,678 in cash bonuses; $487,500 in stock awards; and $127,139 in other benefits, including $7,920 for life insurance. Decherd is also A.H. Belo’s chairman and president.

In addition, the Dallas-based company said it paid Executive Vice President James Moroney $1.4 million in 2012, up from $1.1 million in 2011; Chief Financial Officer Alison Engel $805,490, up from $626,091; and Senior Vice President Daniel Blizzard $557,672, up from $424,991. Former executive John McKeon received $272,286 before his departure last April.

A.H. Belo swung to a net profit of $526,000 in 2012, compared with a net loss of $10.9 million in 2011, as revenue fell 4% to $440 million. The company’s stock was at $5.80 a share Tuesday in late-morning New York Stock Exchange trading, up 25% so far this year.

A.H. Belo said the amount it pays its top executives reflects the turmoil in the media sector and the increase in their responsibilities caused by reductions in the size of the company’s management. The consulting firm Mercer advises the company on executive pay.

“The newspaper industry continues to experience substantial change caused by the effect of the Internet and other transformational technologies on consumers and advertisers and the rapid ascent of new media businesses,” A.H. Belo said in the SEC filing.

“From an executive compensation perspective, this business environment underscores the importance of attracting and retaining both experienced and high-potential executives, and rewarding superior individual performance that may not presently be reflected in the company’s stock price, revenues or operating profit,” the company continued.

(WPRI.com’s compensation estimates differ from some amounts reported in SEC filings because the filings add in yearly changes in the actuarial value of executives’ pensions.)

A.H. Belo will hold its annual shareholder meeting on May 16 in Dallas. Decherd, 61, and Moroney, 56, control 50.3% of A.H. Belo shareholder votes, according to the SEC filing. The company’s seven non-executive board members received between $120,524 and $135,359 each for their service.

• Related: Projo revenue nearly steady in 2012, but ad sales are down 66% (March 12)

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

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