Fairfax has engaged in an embarrassing cover up in their Annual Report 2008.

The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have been left off the Executive Remuneration report. Despite controlling revenues in excess of $600 million and representing 25% of the company’s earnings, the CEOs of both mastheads are not viewed as being senior enough to be listed.

According to the Fairfax Annual report, Lloyd Whish-Wilson, chief executive and publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald and Don Churchill, Chief Executive and Publisher of The Age are not “Key Management Personnel”. Contrast this to the 2007 report, in which Churchill and the SMH CEO were listed.

While Fairfax’s print businesses and their 2,000 employees hide behind a cloak of secrecy, Fairfax Digital CEO Jack Matthews, roughly on the same remuneration of $600,000 but with fewer employees gets a gong.

Fairfax employees and shareholders are now left completely in the dark as to what remuneration increases and bonuses have been paid to Don Churchill, Chief Executive and Publisher of The Age and Lloyd Whish-Wilson, Chief Executive and Publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Of course, to reveal those details might be a smidge embarrassing at a time when you are in the process of sacking 550 employees and slashing both mastheads to the bone. Not the time to reveal and justify huge cash bonuses for Whish-Wilson and Churchill with the SMH and Age performing so poorly.

When the pink slips go out within the next two weeks surviving Fairfax workers won’t know what lucrative bonuses their bosses were paid for executing them.

Bring on the AGM.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW