Retiring Postmedia executive may be taking home $200,000 in retention bonuses, as newsroom layoffs continue, says media union

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Front page of the Vancouver Sun days after announcing layoffs. Photo by STUART NEATBY

A representative of BC’s biggest media union says that a third Postmedia executive, who received a retention bonus of $200,000 last fall, has left the company.

In a statement, Postmedia announced today that Executive Vice-President Gordon Fisher would be retiring at the end of April. Fischer was appointed to the position of head of National Post in March of 2015. The statement did not indicate why Fischer was stepping down.

Postmedia owns multiple news outlets across Canada, including Vancouver’s two biggest dailies, and recently announced another round of newsroom layoffs. Fifty-four staff members from the Vancouver Sun and the Province, including several grads from Langara’s journalism program, were handed pink slips last week. Although the Pacific Newspaper Group division of Postmedia, which operates these two newspapers recently reported profits of $18 million, Postmedia currently has a debt load of $341 million, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.

“Back in the fall [Postmedia] set aside $2.3 million in bonuses for their top executives,” said Jennifer Moreau, vice-president UNIFOR local 2000, which represents newsroom staff at the Sun and the Province.

“These so called retention bonuses are going to people who are leaving the company. Meanwhile they’re laying off 54 reporters from the Sun and the Province.”

Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey has previously accepted a retention bonus of $900,000, but admits in a Feb. 7 interview with the Toronto Life that he probably would not have left without the bonus.

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