Guardian dubbed yesterday "Murdoch's bloody Friday," as Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International announced her resignation, followed by Les Hinton, Dow Jones CEO and former News International publisher, hours later. Outrage over News of the World's phone-hacking continues to spread far and wide, and few were sorry to see Murdoch's top executives go, particularly News of the World's freshly unemployed staff, who hid mockery of Brooks in the crossword puzzle of the paper's final issue.
But if Brooks' and Hinton's resignation seemed like the News Corp.'s top brass was finally getting its just desserts, consider their severance packages. The Independent is reporting that Wapping payouts for departing executives are estimated to be £8.5m, or almost $14 million. Senior colleagues estimated that Brooks is walking out with £3.5m, or more that $5.5 million. Final editor of NOTW, Colin Myler, is believed to be in line for a £2m pay-off ($3.2 million) and two of the company's senior lawyers, Jon Chapman and Tom Crone, will each get about £1.5m ($2.5 million). Add to that Les Hinton's payout, who, as the Daily Mail noted, is also "expected to receive a hefty sum."
The settlements with senior Murdoch executives will include strict gagging orders to stop them discussing company affairs outside the judge-led public inquiry or criminal proceedings, according to the Independent. But that isn't making NOTW employees any happier about this. The Independent writes that:
The pay-offs contrast with the treatment of nearly 200 lower-ranking workers at the NOTW waiting to hear if they will be made redundant. A leaked email reveals police are effectively treating the paper's newsroom as a crime scene and forbidding any access to former staff "even under escort."
And the Daily Mail calls Brooks' payout particularly insulting: "The size of the figure will leave a nasty taste in the mouths of the journalists who blame her for losing their jobs following the collapse of the News of the World."