New Guardian newspaper boss spurns bonus deal as losses remain high

 

Ian Burrell
Friday 31 July 2015 01:42 BST
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Guardian News and Media, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, made losses of £19.1m in 2014-2015
Guardian News and Media, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, made losses of £19.1m in 2014-2015

Guardian News and Media, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, made losses of £19.1m in 2014-2015, slightly better than the £19.4m shed in the previous financial year.

Operating losses at GNM’s parent, Guardian Media Group (GMG), increased from £40.8m to £45.3m, but it retains substantial reserves following the £619m sale of its 50.1 per cent stake in the car website Auto Trader in January 2014. That sale ensured profits of £549.2m in 2013-2014, compared with GMG’s pre-tax loss of £17.6m for 2014-2015.

The release of the figures follows a number of senior personnel changes, with the long-standing editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, departing to be replaced by Katharine Viner. The company recently replaced its chief executive, Andrew Miller, with its former commercial head David Pemsel.

GMG still has a cash and investment fund of £838.3m, down slightly on £842.7m in 2013-2014, and could add to that with the sale of a 33.1 per cent stake in the media business Top Right Group, which is valued at £250m.

The Guardian, which reported an online audience of 127 million monthly unique browsers, up 24.1 per cent on the previous year, has invested heavily in its digital operations. GNM announced digital revenue growth of 20 per cent to £82.1m in 2014-2015. Overall group revenues rose slightly from £209m to 214.6m.

Neil Berkett, chair of GMG, said: “These full-year financial results show the group is on the right track by increasing revenues and narrowing our underlying operating loss.”

He added that GMG “would continue to innovate and expand internationally in the year ahead”.

The group disclosed that Ms Viner is on a salary of £340,000, much less than Mr Rusbridger’s remuneration for 2014-2015 of £492,000. Mr Pemsel’s salary of £600,000, without the means to earn performance-related bonuses, compares to Mr Miller’s £955,000 package.

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