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Johnston Press I Media

Independent bosses doubled their salaries before the paper's print edition folded


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

June 28, 2016 | 3 min read

Bosses at the Independent's parent group Evgeny Lebedev almost doubled their take-home pay last year as plans were being put in motion for the daily paper to fold and go digital-only.

The Independent was the first UK national paper to go digital-only

The Independent and the Independent on Sunday were closed in March, while sister paper i was sold Johnson Press for £24m.

The deal went ahead even though Evgeny Lebedev had managed to reduce pre-tax losses on the Independent titles from £8.5m to £6.9m in the year to September 2015, according to the full year accounts for the now-obsolete papers.

Reports indicate that at 'trading level', excusing interest repayments and redundancy costs, both papers were losing just a combined £3.74m last year.

Accounts for Lebedev Holdings – the company controlled by Evgeny Lebedev, which runs the Independent and the London Evening Standard among others – revealed that despite impending closures and staff losses at the Independent five parent company directors, including Alexander Lebedeb and former chief executive Steve Aukland tripled their take home salaries from £589,000 to £1.48m.

Additionally, a further unnamed director saw their pay rise from £529,000 to £953,000, while a senior staff member specifically from the Independent doubled their pay from £200,000 to £416,000.

The overall increase in director pay is the result of the addition of new directors between 2014 and 2015.

Seven directors at the subsidiary company that runs the Independent had their salaries increased from £387,000 to £831,000, according to the Guardian.

The 30-year-old newspaper ceased its print run on 26 March. Reports at the time suggested that as many as 100 or the 160 reporters working there were expected to lose their jobs when the print business wound up, while senior staff who were transferring to their digital operation were being asked to take pay cuts up to half their current salaries.

Journalists who were made redundant as a result of the shift online were forced to sign muting agreements forbidding them from saying anything publicly about the newspaper in order to receive redundancy pay.

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