Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gimme Failure Baby!

Something truly remarkable has happened in this country. I cannot determine the exact date or time it occurred but I definitely know it has happened. The something was the moment where we stopped rewarded success and started rewarding failure.

Now you might think, that's crazy, we don't reward failure here, I understand we had to do so with the banks via TARP and the bailouts and abolishing all known accounting standards but I watch CNBC and they tell me every time the subject comes up that if we didn't bail out the banks the whole system was coming down, fire and brimstone type stuff, armageddon. We simply had to do it.

Well, you need to take a look at the following piece because flying slightly below the radar given the mesmerizing shows like American Idol and Jersey Shore, not to mention the escapades of the Kardashians, we have the makings of a new TV drama that should be titled How to Grow Wealthy Torpedoing Companies. Please read the news of the departure of 2 U.S. corporate CEO's Janet Robinson of the NY Times and Craig Dubow of Gannett.

Check out these exit package details for Robinson, who has presided over the NY Times funeral procession to the graveyard;
  • pension and supplemental retirement income $11,400,000
  • performance awards of $5,390,000
  • restricted stock units $1,070,000
  • stock options $694,000
  • consulting fees $4,500,000
I struggle determining which one is these is the bigger side-splitting scream, the performance award of $5.39 mil considering the Times stock dropped 80% under her tenure or the consulting fees of $4.5 mil. Yeah, consulting on how to go to go BK. In the article Bloomberg states "the departure of Robinson, 61, also leaves a leadership vacuum at Times Co.". Bloomberg must be referring to a leadership vacuum that happens like the one that occurred when the Italian cruise ship ran aground and it's fearless captain Francesco Schettino accidently tripped into his lifeboat with passengers still aboard the sinking vessel, yeah, a leadership vacuum.

Check out Dubow's exit package from Gannett;
  • retirement benefits $12,800,000
  • disability benefits $6,200,000
  • severance payment $5,900,000
  • accumulated stock awards $7,000,000
  • $25-50,000/yr for a $6.2MM insurance policy
  • miscellaneous $70,000/yr for health ins., home computer, secretarial and financial planning.
This is awarded now, hang on are you ready, for performance rendered while Gannett stock over his tenure dropped 86%. Forget the fact that this was all done in the face of employee austerity measures and employee cutbacks.

Do you think any of those Ivy league, MBA laden, institutional investors that own the Times or Gannett stock, in the course of their due diligence, ever noticed Robinson's severance package amounted to more than the Times earned the past 4 years?

I wish I could tell you this all were a joke from the Onion or a satirical SNL routine but sadly it is not. The only ones laughing histerically are Janet Robinson and Craid Dubow because the joke is on the shareholders.

In my humble opinion..... ta hell with success, gimme failure baby! Actually, given the size of these severence payouts, gimme abject failure! Two scoops!

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