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A.H. Belo Cuts Salaries, Suspends Pension Contributions; CEO Decherd Takes 20 Percent Pay Cut

This story was written by David Kaplan.
A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC) (NYSE: BLC) CEO and chairman Robert Decherd has issued a new around of cost-cutting measures across its four newspapers, including wage reductions and suspending contributions to employee pension plans, Dallas Morning News reported (via Romenesko). The company, which owns the DMN and Rhode Island's Providence Journal, hopes to save $10 million from salary cuts. Mindful of the spotlight on executive pay these days, Decherd made a point of noting that he will take a 20 percent pay cut. Other wages will be cut according to a sliding scale that tops out at 15 percent for those earning more than $225,000 to 2.5 percent for staffers making between $25,001 and $74,999. Those taking home $25,000 or less will not be cut. The salary reductions go into affect on May 1. The pay cuts follow similar actions taken recently to deal with mounting costs and declining profits at E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP) and NYTCo.

The decision to suspend matching contributions to the 2009 pension supplement, which would normally be made in 2010, will save about $6 million in cash next year. The company still plans to make its 2008 contribution to the plan by October 15, 2009. A.H. Belo, not to be confused with its broadcast sibling Belo Corp., has been experiencing revenue declines on the online side lately as well as the print side, though it has been banking on its arrangement with the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium to help offset those losses. In Q4, the Dallas-based publisher posted a $33.1 million ($1.62 per share) net loss, narrowing down from last year's $343.6 million

By David Kaplan

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