The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has criticised regional newspaper publisher Newsquest after it emerged that former CEO Paul Davidson had a pay increase of £53,000 in just 12 months.
According to the union, Davidson’s £610,458 salary in 2013 was the equivalent of 25 journalist role salaries combined at a time when Newsquest’s overall costs for staff salaries dropped by four per cent to £113.7m.
Davidson stepped down as CEO in April after 16 years at the company, but continued as chairman of the Newsquest group. The figures were contained within parent group Gannett UK’s accounts, although the NUJ said it was unclear whether or not the sum included money from a £268,000 performance payment fund for directors.
Chris Morley, Newsquest NUJ group chapel official, said: “The squeeze on living standards of our members in Newsquest has been harsh and brutal in recent years.
“It is breath-taking that the vast pay packet trousered by Paul Davidson year-in, year-out could rise yet further during the year. His pay is equal to that of 25 typical Newsquest journalists and yet he has guided the company to lower profits and revenue for successive years.”
Morley added that Davidson’s successor, Henry Faure Walker, had “a lot of ground to make up” if morale is to be restored among journalists at the Group.
Newsquest publishes more than 200 titles in the UK such as the Northern Echo, the South Wales Guardian, the Penarth Times, and it owns Scotland’s Herald & Times Group, publisher of the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times.