Post Co. chairman declined bonus or salary increase in 2009

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 26, 2010

Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham declined any annual bonus or salary increase in 2009, leaving his base pay at $400,000 for the 19th consecutive year, according to a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As a major shareholder -- he and his family control the company -- Graham forgoes typical executive compensation. His stock holdings provide income through dividends.

Graham's base salary has long been "significantly below the median" paid to chief executives of peer companies, the compensation committee of the board said, according to the SEC filing.

In addition to his salary, Graham received $12,740 in company contributions to a 401(k) plan. The combined value of his pension plans increased by $60,257, mainly based on changes in actuarial assumptions. That brought his total compensation, as defined by the SEC, to $472,997, compared with $811,960 a year earlier.

Graham participates in incentive plans that span four years. His pay declined in 2009 mainly because there was no potential payout from those plans in 2009. He received $400,000 in 2008 during the most recent round of payouts, and he capped his potential payout from the newest cycle at $400,000.

The report also included cash compensation data on Katharine Weymouth, publisher of the Post newspaper. Weymouth, who is Graham's niece, was paid a salary of $500,000 in 2009 and a bonus of $33,263 based on performance goals for 2008.

She received a bonus of $462,630 based on 2009 performance goals, and as of next month her salary will increase to $550,000.

"Ms. Weymouth was entitled to significantly more than she received in 2009 because she chose not to accept a portion of the bonuses she had earned," said Senior Vice President Ann L. McDaniel.

Compared with compensation for publishers of other major newspapers, Weymouth's pay was "not extraordinarily high even with the somewhat outsized bonus for 2009," said John Morton, a newspaper analyst. "I'm sure it was predicated on the improvements at The Washington Post, and they were substantial."

The SEC filing noted that another member of the Graham family joined the company in October.

Laura Graham, daughter of Donald Graham, is director of product development at the online magazine Slate.

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