Gannett CEO volunteers to cut pay as papers suffer

NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Gannett Co Inc's GCI.N chief executive will take a voluntary 17 percent cut off his annual pay as the largest U.S. newspaper publisher's advertising revenue falls and it prepares to cut thousands of jobs.

“All Gannett employees are making deep sacrifices for their company,” said Chief Executive Craig Dubow, whose salary would fall by $200,000 starting this month and going through 2009.

The comment was included in a memo sent to employees.

All company and divisional officers will have their salaries frozen for 2009, the memo also said.

The news, which was first reported by former Gannett employee Jim Hopkins on his company watchdog blog, comes after the McLean, Virginia-based publisher of more than 80 local U.S. dailies and USA Today -- the nation’s largest by circulation -- gets ready to cut 10 percent of its newspaper jobs.

Gannett earlier this year said it would cut about 3 percent of staff in its newspaper division.

Dubow’s base salary, which will be cut, is $1.2 million a year. His total compensation is about $7.5 million, counting base pay, bonus, stock awards, stock options and deferred compensation interest earnings, a company spokeswoman said.

Dubow volunteered the pay cut to the board, which accepted it, said the spokeswoman, Tara Connell.

Gannett and other U.S. newspaper publishers have suffered as the advertising revenue they depend on falls at unprecedented levels, and as fewer readers subscribe to their print editions and get their news online instead.

Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Bernard Orr