Former Trib CEO's $41M Parachute Lands

FitzSimmons gets cushy board seat -- and what did Zell get?

By Steve Rhodes
|  Thursday, Jun 25, 2009  |  Updated 8:36 AM CDT
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Former Trib CEO's $41M Parachute Lands

Los Angeles Times

My compensation package is this big.

They always land on their feet, don't they?

Dennis FitzSimons, the former CEO of the Tribune Company who walked out the door with $41 million after engineering the disastrous sale of the company to Sam Zell, has just joined the board of directors of Media General.

The board seat was created just for him.

“'Dennis FitzSimons is a proven and innovative business leader who led a premier media company through times of outstanding growth and tough challenges,' said Marshall N. Morton, Media General’s president and chief executive officer, in a filing with the Securites and Exchange Commission," according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. "'His industry knowledge and experience with the changing media landscape and the synergies of print, broadcast and online platforms will bring a valuable perspective to the Media General board’s deliberations'."

The folks FitzSimons left behind at the Trib may feel a bit differently about his skill set.

But they always take care of their own, don't they?

"Outside directors to the Media General board receive an annual retainer of $116,000 for all scheduled meetings as well as an additional $1,750 for each unscheduled board meeting and each committee meeting attended beyond the two included in the retainer, according to SEC filings," TBBJ reports.

That's chump change to FitzSimons, but it's still an outrage.

"Like other newspaper publishers, Media General has been cutting jobs and other costs because of declining advertising and readers moving to the Internet," the Wall Street Journal reports. "It has closed its Washington bureau, suspended its dividend and 401(k) match and required workers to take a 10-day furlough."

And now, expanded it's board to make room for Dennis FitzSimons.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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