Leslie Turk

Advertiser lays off two execs

by Leslie Turk

Two executives at The Daily Advertiser, Pat Bienvenu and Julio Naudin, got their walking papers yesterday as part of Virginia-based Gannett Co.'s announcement this week that it is cutting 100 management positions at its newspapers across the country. The latest round of cuts comes less than a month after the nation's largest newspaper chain eliminated 1,000 positions, including six local jobs, in response to dwindling ad revenue, its plummeting stock price and a weakening U.S. economy.

For more on Gannett's financial woes, visit Gannett Blog.

Advertiser Publisher Leslie Hurst did not respond to an e-mail requesting information on the layoffs.

Bienvenu served as head of information technology, and Naudin was the paper's marketing director. Both are longtime Gannett employees, with Bienvenu having spent most of his professional career at the local paper. Editor and Publisher reported that Gannett is offering severance packages to the affected managers.

Gannett U.S. Community Publishing President Robert J. Dickey, noting that the decline in revenue has outweighed expense reductions almost threefold, also had this to say in yesterday's letter informing employees of the cuts:

Dear Fellow Employee, Given the job reductions across our division in the past month, I wanted to share with all of you our reasoning and plans for the future under a new structure we are implementing beginning today. Like many businesses, the weakening economy has had a significant effect on our financial performance. Hardest are the classified categories – real estate, employment and automotive, where our year-over-year classified losses are in the 25% range. But it does not stop there: All segments are struggling with the current economic conditions and, unfortunately, forecasters predict that a rebound won’t occur until well into 2009 or later.... Group directors in circulation, finance, human resources, information technology, marketing and production/operations have been appointed to support their area of expertise across their group. Current executives within their respective groups will fill the new group director positions as well as retain their current responsibilities. You can find a listing of these new directors at the end of this letter. I believe this new structure will improve communication, streamline processes, accelerate program deployment and, most importantly, improve our marketing efforts.

We have important work ahead of us as we maneuver a changing media landscape amidst a difficult U.S. economy. But I am confident the desire and need for accurate news, information and advertising content is only increasing and we – with our multiple platforms are in the best position to deliver it.