Star union calls for Torstar board to revoke outgoing CEO's 'obscene' severance



    TORONTO, May 5 /CNW/ - Union activists at The Toronto Star are asking
Torstar Corp.'s board of directors to take back the $9.6 million in severance
payments made to outgoing CEO Rob Prichard. The union has dubbed Prichard the
'$24 million man' for his total compensation during his years at Torstar. He
became Torstar CEO in 2002.
    They'll be taking their case to Torstar Corp.'s annual general meeting,
which takes place on Wed. May 6, at 10 a.m., in the 3rd floor auditorium of
the Toronto Star building, 1 Yonge St.
    The meeting is Prichard's final duty as Torstar CEO. He has already
accepted a new job as the $215,000 a year 'transition advisor' to the revamped
board of Metrolinx, the regional transit agency the Ontario government last
month merged with GO Transit.
    "This offends and shames the core value of any Atkinson Principle we can
think of," said Star unit chair Maureen Dawson, of the Southern Ontario
Newsmedia Guild (local 87M of the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union), of
Prichard's Torstar severance package.
    The union says that in a time of widespread newspaper layoffs and
cutbacks, including at The Star, where a quarter of its unionized advertising
staff is facing layoff, such a golden handshake for Prichard is both unearned
and inappropriate.
    "We call today on the Torstar board of directors to rescind Prichard's
obscene severance package, and take whatever legal steps necessary to recover
any sums dispensed to date, as wholly undeserved and clearly against the
interests of the company, its shareholders and its employees," Dawson said in
a union bulletin timed for the Torstar meeting.
    A copy of the union bulletin is attached. Dawson will be at the Wednesday
meeting.

    
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                STAR BULLETIN
                             CEP LOCAL 87-M, SONG

                          THE 24 MILLION DOLLAR MAN

                           That's the minimum total
                             of what Rob Prichard
                           has gotten from Torstar

                             Guild to urge board
                             to deny outgoing CEO
                         his $9.6 million severance


                                                                 May 6, 2009
    

    $24.435 million.

    Or, to be exact, $24,434,600.00. That's the minimum amount of money,
based on company circulars, that outgoing Torstar CEO Rob Prichard has
received since 2001 from his ill-fated association with our company. Wow.
    That eye-popping figure includes Prichard's $9.584 million severance
package negotiated with a previous Torstar board, but upheld this year by the
current board. That figure doesn't include any potential increased costs
associated with Prichard's platinum pension arrangement.
    Let's be fair here. If Torstar had, under Rob Prichard's leadership,
performed in some spectacular manner, or received some amazing boost to
shareholder value, then perhaps some significant portion of that pot of money
could be considered deserved.
    Is there anybody not named Rob who can begin to justify such spectacular
rewards? From the steady decline of our share price to the dead weight going
forward of the debt covenants attached to the borrowed money for Prichard's
misguided investment in CTVglobemedia, we see little in the Prichard era to
justify his remarkable earnings.
    We call today on the Torstar board of directors to rescind Prichard's
obscene severance package, and take whatever legal steps necessary to recover
any sums dispensed to date, as wholly undeserved and clearly against the
interests of the company, its shareholders and its employees.
    "To see today pass without any attempt made to prevent him leaving with
that $9.6 million is just too much," says the Guild's Star unit chair, Maureen
Dawson. "This offends and shames the core value of any Atkinson Principle we
can think of."
    The Torstar Annual General Meeting takes place at 10 a.m. in the 3rd
floor auditorium at 1 Yonge. It will also be webcast live and remain available
afterward on the Investor Relations (Presentations & Events) page of
www.torstar.com. The year-by-year tally of Rob Prichard's Torstar pay is
posted on our union website, www.song.on.ca.

    
    Maureen Dawson,
    and the rest of the Guild Star unit executive
    





For further information:

For further information: Maureen Dawson, ph: (416) 209-6967, email:
maureen@song.on.ca

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Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild

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