NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Facing shareholder dissent and getting flak for bloated executive pay deals, The New York Times Co. (NYT) is searching for crisis public relations experts, The New York Post reported Thursday.
Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and other top management have been criticized for putting off the concerns of Morgan Stanley portfolio manager Hassan Elmasry and for a share price that's plummeted 50% since 2002, the report said.
Soon after Morgan's attack last week on The Times, the publisher's spokeswoman, Catherine Mathis, phoned Knight Ridder spokesman Polk Laffoon seeking advice, the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Knight Ridder, which put itself on the block last year under pressure from unhappy shareholders, used Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, a New York public relations firm with a long list of clients in crisis, at the urging of its investment bankers, the report added.
Mathis called Joele Frank, sources said, but the firm wasn't an option because it was already taken - by Morgan Stanley, the N.Y. Post said.
Mathis got the recommendation of some rivals, sources said. On the list are Abernathy McGregor, Citigate Sard Verbinnen and Kekst, the report added. Those firms either declined to comment or couldn't be reached for comment.
Mathis declined to comment on The Times' search for outside public relations.