When Par Ridder was named publisher of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in March 2004, some might have wondered how a 35-year-old managed to rise to such a position of eminence. Not that long before, after all, Ridder had been a mere advertising manager (then publisher) at a small California daily, the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
The answer, of course, lies in the last name: Par Ridder is the son of Tony Ridder, who is CEO and chairman of the board at Knight Ridder, the giant newspaper chain that owns the Pi Press.
But nepotism, young Par learned recently, isn't without its downsides. Under rules designed to protect shareholders, Knight Ridder is required to disclose compensation figures for family members of company office holders. In other words, folks like Par. Consequently, after Knight Ridder released its proxy statement last month, rank-and-file Pi Press employees learned for the first time what their leader actually earns. Par, it turns out, is making pretty nice coin: in 2004, he hauled in $394,045 in annual salary, plus a quarter million dollars "relocation bonus" to cover his moving expenses.