Reach CEO Jim Mullen and the rest of the company’s executive team will forego salary increases in 2023, the company announced in its full annual report today.
Mullen is also not being paid a bonus this year. His total remuneration for 2022 was £561,000 (mostly from his £504,000 base salary), compared to £2.1m total pay in 2021, when he was paid a bonus of £1.5m.
“It is our intention that 2023 salary reviews will be targeted at our less well-paid staff. Our CEO and executive team will not take an increase in 2023,” remuneration committee chair Olivia Streatfeild wrote in the company’s annual report.
The Daily Mirror publisher faced industrial action from national and regional journalists last year over pay and conditions. The National Union of Journalists struck a deal with Reach late August that included salary increases of between 14%-44% for “many” editorial staff at the group.
“While good progress was made in 2022 on growing an increasingly engaged digital audience, our performance on our core Operating Profit metric did not achieve the targets that we set at the beginning of 2022,” Streatfeild continued. “Against this backdrop – and despite achieving target for important metrics on digital customers and diversity and inclusion – the outcomes for the annual bonus plan for 2022 for our executive directors was nil.”
In 2022, Reach applied a 3% business-wide pay-rise to all employees. Salary reviews for 2023 will occur in April.
Reach’s total revenues (-2.3%) and operating profits (-27.4%) fell in 2022. The company cited “external factors”, namely challenging and uncertain macroeconomic conditions, as reason for the declines. Reach brands have seen drops in print and digital advertising spend amid rising interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis.
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In Q4 2022, Reach made efforts to cut costs, including through laying off 200 employees. The company hopes that its 2023 launches of newsbrands the Mirror and the Express in the US will provide an injection of growth.
Reacting to comparatively sharper declines in print advertising, Reach has also made strides to improve its digital offering. Digitally-focussed roles at Reach now account for 42% of the total roles at the company, a 30 percentage point increase since 2018. Active digital users across Reach’s properties have also more than doubled from 2.5 million in January 2021 to 5.6 million in January 2023.
“Macroeconomic conditions are likely to remain challenging in 2023,” admitted Reach chairman Nick Prettejohn. “However, Reach has a proven and consistent track record of driving efficiencies, with plans in place to address near-term headwinds and support continued investment in growth.
“Our strategy is the right one; it supports a more sustainable and profitable future for our stakeholders and positions us to benefit strongly when the trading environment improves.”