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Because They're Worth It?

Whether you're heading off for a luxury break in the Caribbean or going camping in Yosemite, just think what you could afford this holiday season if you featured in this chart of executive pay at some of the world's biggest service providers.

Sources: Bloomberg, companies, IRS, Reuters, SEC
Sources: Bloomberg, companies, IRS, Reuters, SEC

Staggering as it might seem, new-ish Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Marcelo Claure received more in total compensation last financial year than any other executive on our list, receiving a package worth nearly $22 million despite not joining Sprint until mid-August (the operator's financial year runs to the end of March).

Has Claure justified his inflated paycheck? We'll not offer judgment on that in this story but it's worth noting that Sprint's share price has fallen by 57% since this time last year, just days before Claure took over.

In Europe, Cesar Alierta, CEO of Spanish incumbent Telefónica , can crack open the cava in celebration, having collected a cool $8.6 million in total compensation, more than any of his regional peers. Indeed, Alierta received about ten times as much as Dominique Leroy, the CEO of Belgium's Proximus and one of only two female CEOs on our list, the other being Chua Sock Koong of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY).

Alierta's been head honcho at Telefónica since the Jurassic age of telecom, having taken up his current role in mid-2000, when satellites were all the rage and mobile data meant faxing spreadsheets to your boss. He must be doing something right, but Telefónica's share price has also suffered in the past year, falling by 8.4% over that period on the New York Stock Exchange.

In Asia, meanwhile, Chua Sock Koong was far better compensated than Leroy, receiving a package worth about $3.6 million for her efforts at the Singaporean incumbent, which owns stakes in a number of other service providers across the region.

But the highest earner at the operators we were able to analyze in this region (many companies do not disclose this information) was Simon Moutter, CEO of New Zealand's Spark, whose total compensation last year was about $4.3 million -- more than was paid to Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) boss Vittorio Colao or Telecom Italia (TIM) head Marco Patuano.

That's not bad considering Spark operates in a market of fewer than 5 million people and has no major overseas subsidiaries.

We've included a few more details about the executives and operators we researched in the tables below. For simplicity's sake, we've used yearly average currency exchange rates from 2014 (based on IRS data), even though some operators' financial years do not mirror the calendar year. We've also relied heavily on annual reports and SEC filings but used Bloomberg and Reuters as data sources in some instances.

Table 1: Executive Compensation in Americas

Executive Operator Country Basic salary ($) Total compensation ($)
Randall Stephenson, CEO AT&T Inc USA 1,691,667 20,778,083
George Cope, CEO Bell Canada Canada 4,250,218 9,991,514
Guy Laurence, CEO Rogers Communications Canada 2,163,838 7,823,455
Dan Hesse, Former CEO Sprint Corp USA 533,850 10,571,729
Marcelo Claure, CEO Sprint Corp USA 923,077 21,798,463
Joe Natale, CEO Telus Corp Canada 906,232 8,205,013
John Legere, CEO T-Mobile US USA 1,250,000 18,567,001
Lowell McAdam, CEO Verizon Communications USA 1,580,769 18,230,862
Dan Mead, former CEO Verizon Wireless USA 940,385 7,517,819
Sources: Bloomberg, companies, IRS, Reuters, SEC

Table 2: Executive Compensation in Asia-Pacific

Executive Operator Country Basic salary ($) Total compensation ($)
Gopal Vittal, CEO Bharti Airtel India 511,677 905,340
Li Yue, CEO China Mobile China 132,300 247,241
Wang Xiaochu, chairman and CEO China Telecom China 53,175 142,634
Chang Xiaobing, chairman and CEO China Unicom China 46,919 168,283
Himanshu Kapania, managing director Idea Cellular India 1,254,600 1,470,009
Chang-Gyu Hwang, CEO KT Corp South Korea 390,627 461,651
Chua Sock Koong, Group CEO SingTel Singapore 1,249,697 3,574,237
Dong-Hyun Jang, president and CEO SK Telecom South Korea N/A 1,327,587
Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO SoftBank Japan 1,180,734 1,189,817
Simon Moutter, CEO Spark New Zealand New Zealand 1,082,658 4,285,841
Vinod Kumar, CEO Tata Communications India 109,836 569,903
Sources: Bloomberg, companies, IRS, Reuters, SEC

Table 3: Executive Compensation in Europe

Executive Operator Country Basic salary ($) Total compensation ($)
Dominique Leroy, CEO Belgacom Belgium 616,959 856,656
Gavin Patterson, CEO BT UK 1,496,835 6,990,506
Timotheus Höttges, CEO DT Germany 1,849,490 6,107,028
Eelco Blok, CEO KPN Netherlands 1,094,388 2,659,439
Stéphane Richard, CEO Orange France 1,147,959 1,689,337
Marco Patuano, CEO Telecom Italia Italy 1,636,480 3,811,224
Cesar Alierta, CEO Telefónica Spain 2,845,663 8,588,010
Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO Telekom Austria Austria 700,255 1,561,224
Vittorio Colao, CEO Vodafone UK 1,454,082 3,584,184
Sources: Bloomberg, companies, IRS, Reuters, SEC

– The Staff, Light Reading

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Kesejaht62156 11/8/2016 | 9:49:04 PM
Share fare  

China aside, the gross disparity between non-salary compensation for US executives and ROW execs is stunning.

Obat Kolesterol
mendyk 7/30/2015 | 12:29:39 PM
Re: Share fare China aside, the gross disparity between non-salary compensation for US executives and ROW execs is stunning. Then again, if we didn't have this disparity, companies like Sentient Jet probably wouldn't exist.
MikeP688 7/30/2015 | 1:54:14 AM
Re: Share fare The Chinese are also held to a higher standard now even more @R Clark especially in light of the current political realities spreaheaded by President XI.    We could only wish that somehow the CEO Compensations, though, were a bit more realistic or not.   Although I am happy for the Sprint CEO, the question on sprint is still an open one.   I wonder if I am a bit too harsh on this.

 
R Clark 7/30/2015 | 1:06:50 AM
Re: Share fare As senior govt appointees the Chinese execs have to look like they're being modestly compensated, though their lifestyles are generously subsidised by their employers.  Chinese salaries are roughly one-tenth the level of the US so relative to their staff they're the equivalent of a US CEO earning several million bucks. Which still puts them way ahead of the US telco bosses. 

On the other hand, there was the former China Mobile vice-president sentenced to death for corruption, so the Chinese have some powerful disincentives.

 

 
bosco_pcs 7/29/2015 | 1:43:02 PM
Aspiration Rising to the level of incompetence still works!
jabailo 7/29/2015 | 1:00:13 PM
Re: Share fare
One could extrapolate by the cost of a house there, or nearby.  And it's more likely that gadget buying young engineers are pretty good tricklers down of wealth.

 

 

 

 

 
Steve Saunders 7/29/2015 | 12:25:35 PM
Re: Share fare man, the Sprint stuff is really out of control - $30M for two guys, one of whom doesn't even work at the company now?

Hard to understand why the shareholders are still eating that thin gruel. 

And i guess it pays - literally - to spend your time as CEO having baby'ish spats with your fellow overpaid CEO compatriots over twitter. 

The real jaw dropper, of course, is how littlethe Chinese get paid - surely those guys are about to teach their spoiled brat counterparts a huge giant massive lesson in hubris? 

 

 

 

 

 
Sarah Thomas 7/29/2015 | 12:16:53 PM
Re: Share fare The execs had so many different kinds of bonuses, incentive pricing, stocks, etc that we couldn't include them all in one chart. The base + total was depressing enough.
mendyk 7/29/2015 | 12:16:17 PM
Re: Share fare One absurdity doesn't justify another, though. And I wonder just how many eight-figure-a-year engineers there are, even in Silicon Valley.
jabailo 7/29/2015 | 12:08:50 PM
Re: Share fare Although a well compensated tech engineer, lucky enough to have options and to be in a hit company like Facebook, has a net worth that easily exceeds these CEOs.

 
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