One item that should be at the top of the board of director's agenda today: Gary Pruitt's performance.
If the board is looking for a way to evaluate Pruitt's performance, I have a suggestion: take a look at Pruitt's own goals from a year ago. Here is what Pruitt told the shareholders last year:
In 2008 we will focus our efforts in four areas:
* First, improving revenue performance with a particular emphasis on internet advertising.
* Second, providing high quality public service journalism.
* Third, growing total audience based on the unduplicated reach of our print and online products.
* And fourth, restructuring and reducing our costs.
If we execute on this four-part strategy we can control our destiny and succeed.
Why not evaluate Pruitt's performance on this criteria.
The results show Pruitt hasn't succeeded in any of the key areas.
Internet advertising has grown but not nearly enough to make up for other losses. McClatchy will make $200 million in online revenue this year -- that's nice, but that amount won't come close to making up for the collapse in non-online revenue.
As far as providing high quality public service journalism, that's a subjective judgment -- but readers of this blog know the objective number of goofs and copy editing mistakes in print and on the web are piling up. (And how about McClatchy hawking Obama books, Obama mugs and Obama mouse pads -- that's high quality public service journalism??)
As far as growing the audience, there is no doubt McClatchy's Internet presence has increased in terms of readers, but the growth hasn't translated into revenue gains. Paid circulation fell 9% in the 6-month period which ended March 31.
On the restructuring front, the cutbacks Pruitt engineered earlier in 2009 probably aren't enough to stave off another round of layoffs -- that's what Citi analyst Catriona Fallon said in mid-April (link here). I said the same thing earlier the same month.
The spotlight at the Hyatt Regency today is on the board of directors and what they will do about Gary Pruitt.