McClatchy Eliminates Some Executive Posts, Furloughs Among Ad Staff

McClatchy is furloughing some of its advertising team and eliminating a few executive positions, president-CEO Craig Forman told staff in a memo.

No journalists will be impacted by the changes.

McClatchy operates publications in 30 local markets. The cuts will affect more than 4% of McClatchy’s 2,770 employees, according to a report by McClatchy DC.

While customer revenues and news operations are “outperforming in key metrics,” Forman admitted the advertising business is “suffering.” Some McClatchy staffers will take a “leave of absence,” expected to last through the second quarter, he announced.

This will affect the advertising team in particular, “to reflect the lower volume of activity, but in a way that preserves jobs and allows us to flex back up to full capacity as the demand for advertising recovers," he wrote.

Forman called the leave of absence “an alternative to layoffs.”



The company is also eliminating some executive positions.

Those who are leaving include: Sara Glines, East region lead and president-publisher of The News & Observer; Gary Wortel, West region lead and president-publisher of The Sacramento Bee; Kim Nussbaum, head of sales projects and business transformation; and Bryan Harbison, planning director.

Tony Berg, publisher of the Wichita Eagle, is adding the role of McClatchy group publisher, and will have responsibility for the West and East regions. 

Lauren Gustus, director of community funding initiatives and West region editor, will assume the title of president of The Sacramento Bee.

Robyn Tomlin, executive editor of The News & Observer-Southeast regional editor, will add president of The News & Observer to her role. 

Forman said he will take a 50% cut to his total annual compensation. The other five members of his executive team will reduce their overall compensation by about 15%. “All divisions will be working to develop ideas and recommendations for further cost savings for the second quarter,” Forman added.

He noted McClatchy has “lost a dear and cherished colleague to [COVID-19]," and that two more employees are "currently battling the illness.”

While Forman recognized the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the media industry hard, he touted the company's restructuring efforts: “When you take away the pension and the debt, this is an operating company of strength and resilience. We are at an advantage because of the balance between audience and advertising revenue — to the credit of this team that has worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome of our digital transition.”

Separately, Tribune Publishing announced yesterday pay cuts of up to 10% for nonunion employees making $67,000 or more annually, effective April 19.

The cuts will permanently reduce the base pay of non-union employees between 2% and 10%. 

Employees have until April 17 to accept the reduction in pay, or apply to leave the company and receive a severance package, according to Chicago Tribune reporting.

An investigation by Press Gazette found that more than 1,000 local newspapers and other publications have had to make cuts (including suspending publication, pay reductions, layoffs or furloughs) in light of the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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