Lee explains why CEO Mary Junck was awarded $655,000 in stock

On Wednesday, Lee Enterprises disclosed in an SEC filing that it awarded CEO Mary Junck 500,000 shares of company stock, valued at $655,000.

Today, Lee explains why the newspaper chain’s compensation committee, which gave Junck a $500,000 bonus in the spring, believes the CEO deserves the stock award.

After review of CEO compensation of other publicly-traded newspaper companies, the ECC concluded that Ms. Junck’s compensation, including equity-based compensation, is substantially below that of her peers in the newspaper industry. …The ECC believes that the Company’s stockholders will benefit from linking Ms. Junck’s compensation to appreciation in the value of the Company’s common stock.

Just hours after Junck received her latest bonus, she and her associates laid off four editors at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the journalists finished their Thursday shifts.

Front-page editor and deputy managing editor/news Steve Parker, who had been with the paper for 31 years, was the top manager to get laid off last night. Photography director Larry Coyne, food editor Judy Evans and asst. metro editor Tim Bross also lost their jobs.

Meanwhile, Lee shares are down on an up day on Wall Street.

* Lee 8-K: Report of unscheduled material events or corporate (Lee.net)
* Post-Dispatch lays off four newsroom managers (JimRomenesko.com)
* Junck made $1.5 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 (Post-Dispatch)

Here’s what Lee’s SEC filing states:

On July 23, 2012, the Lee Enterprises, Incorporated (the “Company”) Board of Directors’ Executive Compensation Committee (“ECC”) approved a discretionary grant of non-incentive restricted shares of the Company’s common stock (“Restricted Common Stock”) for Mary E. Junck, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, in the amount of 500,000 shares, pursuant to the Company’s 1990 Long-Term Incentive Plan, as from time to time amended and restated (“LTIP”). On the grant date, the closing price on the NYSE of the Company’s common stock was $1.31 per share. After review of CEO compensation of other publicly-traded newspaper companies, the ECC concluded that Ms. Junck’s compensation, including equity-based compensation, is substantially below that of her peers in the newspaper industry. This Restricted Common Stock grant, which is the first grant of restricted common stock awarded to her since December 2007, aligns a significant portion of Ms. Junck’s compensation with the performance of the Company’s common stock over the next three years. The ECC believes that the Company’s stockholders will benefit from linking Ms. Junck’s compensation to appreciation in the value of the Company’s common stock. Participants currently do not pay any purchase price for Restricted Common Stock awarded under the LTIP.

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