Paper Trail

Ex-Post publisher Terrance CZ Egger offers buyout packages at Cleveland's daily.

When announcing his resignation from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in April, former publisher Terrance CZ Egger acted as if he hadn't a clue what the future had in store. In an interview with Post-Dispatch scribe Tim McLaughlin, Egger hinted that he might consider teaching. "I have always believed that a life fully lived has many chapters," mused Egger in the April 26 article. "But it is really time for me to move on."

Three weeks later — on May 18 — a wire story in the business section of the paper reported that Egger had resurfaced as publisher of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.For the grunts left at the Post-Dispatch, Egger's move was but another slight, since it was Egger who helped orchestrate Pulitzer Inc.'s sale of the paper to Lee Enterprises in March. But then again, the move made perfect sense.

It was none other than Robert Woodworth — Egger's former boss at Pulitzer Inc. — who hired him to work for Plain Dealer. Both former Pulitzer execs profited handsomely from the sale of the Post-Dispatch before moving on to positions with Advance Publications, the parent company of the Plain Dealer.

Woodworth, who served as chief executive of Pulitzer Inc., was entitled to nearly $21 million following the Lee acquisition, according to U.S. regulatory filings. Egger's payout was about $3.2 million, with the former publisher entitled to a year of severance if he voluntarily terminated his employment in April.

Egger's last order of business at the St. Louis daily was orchestrating the buyout of 130 employees in a cost-cutting deal that offered early retirement to staffers age 50 years and older. The retirement package allowed employees to receive two weeks pay for each year of continuous service, so long as the total severance did not exceed one year.

As publisher of the Plain Dealer, Egger last week announced a similar buyout package for employees there that — at first glance — looks much better than the one offered to P-D staffers. The buyout is available to employees of all ages, and veterans of the Plain Dealer with more than twenty years of experience are entitled to as much as two-and-a-half years of severance.

Egger described the Plain Dealer offer as "extremely generous" — though in all likelihood none of the staffers there will reap as much severance as the former publisher will earn this year from the P-D. On June 10 the Post-Dispatch reported that Egger's severance payment from Lee Enterprises will top $1.4 million.

 
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