Emap, the debt-laden events and magazines group recently renamed Top Right Group, gave departing chief executive David Gilbertson a £2.4m payoff.
He left in May 2011 and his salary in the previous year was £600,000.
The payoff was contractual but is large given that Mr Gilbertson joined only three years earlier. His total package last year was £2.8m.
Guardian Media Group and Apax recruited him after paying £1.1bn for Emap just before the 2008 bank crisis. They took a writedown as Emap's value plunged and Mr Gilbertson renegotiated with lenders to avoid breaching loan covenants. The group is showing some signs of recovery as pre-tax profits doubled to £52m last year.
The group sold its car data unit CAP for £175m last month.