New York Times Co. Discloses Bonus, Stock Option Snafus

Article excerpt

New York Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and CEO Janet Robinson were inadvertantly awarded stock options and given opportunities for cash bonuses far in excess of internal compensation policies, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing late Friday.

After markets closed, the Times Co. filed a Form 8-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosing the overcompensation. The filing said the Times Co.'s 1991 executive incentive plans limits the number of stock options any person can be awarded in a single year to 400,000.

But in 2008, Robinson was granted 650,000, and another 500,000 in 2009, the company said. This year, it added, Sulzberger was granted 500,000 options.

The filing said Robinson and Sulzberger have agreed that the excess options are "null and void."

But to compensate the two for the lost value, the board of directors' compensation committee drafted up a new plan granting "replacement" SARs, or stock appreciation rights.

The so-called "strike price" for these SARs is equal to original exercise price of the null and void excess options. …