Monday, the Los Angeles Times whacked four top editors and installed media veteran Ross Levinsohn as its CEO and publisher, with a salary of at least $1 million a year. One person who helped the paper decide on its new boss: Ross Levinsohn.
The former Yahoo interim CEO’s three-year contract, which guarantees him a base of $600,000 a year with an additional $100,000 each quarter, was revealed in a Wednesday SEC filing from Times parent company tronc. But more interestingly, tronc also disclosed that it had paid Levinsohn’s consulting firm, WAYD, $300,000 each in 2016 and 2017 before terminating their consulting agreement on June 1.
Levinsohn, a longtime media executive who has worked at News Corp and Hollywood Reporter parent Guggenheim Digital Media in addition to Yahoo, faces a tough challenge trying to re-energize a publication that has fallen behind competitors like the New York Times and Washington Post, who have each boosted their web traffic and built a thriving digital subscription business.
As part of his compensation, Levinsohn is eligible for an annual bonus of up to 166 and two-thirds percent of his annual salary if he hits certain company-wide and individual targets. He is also eligible for a separate bonus relating to the revenue from content syndicated internationally, which could be a preview of the Times’ strategy to grow its online presence. Furthermore, he will receive 400,000 restricted stock units and 200,000 options vesting over three years, which are worth about $8 million at Tronc’s current share price.
With that pay package, it’s no huge surprise Ross Levinsohn’s consulting firm figured they had the right man for the job.