Zodiak Rights, the international distribution and rights exploitation arm of Zodiak Media, has hired Janet Robinson as VP Sales & Acquisitions, North America, where she will focus on selling Zodiak Media’s unscripted programs to the U.S. and Canada. She will be based in Zodiak’s LA office and report to Glen Hansen, SVP Sales, Acquisitions & Co-Productions, North America. Previously, Robinson was Sales Manager at ITV Global Entertainment, where she managed sales and programming revenues across North America and the company’s distribution partnership with Animal Planet/Discovery Enterprises.
Mark Thompson will be collecting a lot less as the Times’ new CEO than his predecessor, Janet Robinson, did. The soon-to-be former Director-General of the BBC — he starts at the Times in November — will collect an annual salary of $1M, the company says in an SEC filing this morning. The board also targets a $1M annual incentive. To encourage him to leave the BBC, the Times awarded Thompson a sign-on bonus targeted at $3M. Half of it comes in an amount of stock that will be pegged to how well the Times’ does in the market compared to the benchmark Standard and Poor’s 500 in the period ending November 2015. He could get none of that $1.5M — or it could go as high as $3M. The remaining 50% of the sign-on bonus is in stock options that vest in three annual installments. In addition, Thompson is entitled to a relocation benefit of three months housing and a maximum of $100,000 plus up to $25,000 to reimburse his legal fees for negotiating the contract. By contrast, the compensation package for Robinson — who left the company in December — came to $11.3M last year, $5.3M in 2010, and $6.7M in 2009.
Bloomberg smartly notes that former New York Times CEO Janet Robsinson’s $24M bundle in 2011 was “equal to about 2.4% of the company’s market value of $981.9 million, and exceeds the approximately $3 million the company earned in net income over the past four years.” The company’s proxy statement, out today, says Robinson — who left at the end of 2011 — had an $11.3M compensation package last year ($1M salary, $767,533 in stock awards, $797,185 in option awards, $3.6M in non-equity incentives, $523,898 in deferred compensation and $4.6M in other compensation). That’s up 113.2% vs 2010, but includes in “other compensation” a $4.5M fee so the company can call on her as a consultant this year. On top of her compensation, Robinson is entitled to about $11.4M in retirement benefits. Her exit deal includes a “two-year non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disparagement covenant, a three-year cooperation covenant and an indefinite confidentiality covenant.” The company lauded her “leadership during recent challenging years and other significant accomplishments during her 28-year tenure with the Company” including the development of its digital strategy. It doesn’t hold her responsible for the 22.4% drop in the Times’ market value in 2011, or the 80% drop since she became CEO in late 2004.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr will become interim CEO until the newspaper company can find someone else to take on one of the most thankless jobs in media. While The New York Times Co has managed its transition to the digital world better than just about any other newspaper company, it’s still a newspaper company. And as that industry has faded, so have its profits and prospects. The New York Times’ market value is down 23% so far in 2011 — and down 69% since the end of 2006. Still, Robinson leaves with a sweet deal. She’ll be paid $4.5M over the next year to serve as a consultant on what the company calls “an as-needed basis.” But she can’t compete with the Times, hire away its employees, or bad-mouth the company for three years. Here’s the company’s release:
NEW YORK–Dec. 15, 2011– The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) announced today that Janet L. Robinson, 61, president and chief executive officer since 2004, will retire on December 31, 2011. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., currently chairman of the Company and publisher of The New York Times, will serve as chief executive officer on an interim basis. Ms. Robinson also will step down as a director of the Company on December 31, 2011. She has agreed to serve as a consultant to the Company for one year.