Cable Tech

AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) announced this morning at its shareholders meeting that Edward Whitacre would be stepping down as chairman and chief executive. (See AT&T's Whitacre Cedes Throne.) But that's not all that was on the docket today.

Stockholder Proposal D during today's meeting called for the adoption of a policy that would give the shareholders advisory voting powers in the approval of executive pay. "We believe current rules governing senior executive compensation do not give shareholders sufficient influence over pay practices - nor do they give the Board adequate feedback from the owners of the company," says the shareholder proposal.

Not surprisingly, AT&T's board of directors recommended the rejection of this proposal, which later happened by a vote of 56.2 percent to 43.8 percent.

Whitacre's compensation was cited as Exhibit A in demonstrating how AT&T execs were excessively compensated. Disgruntled shareholders pointed to a study conducted by the Corporate Library that cited AT&T as being one of 11 large corporations where the disconnect between pay and performance is severe.

"The study notes that over the five fiscal years through 2005, CEO Edward Whitacre received $85.2 million in compensation, while total shareholder return was negative 40.3%. The Corporate Library accordingly gave AT&T's Board a 'D' for overall effectiveness," argued the shareholders.

All of this came on the same day it was reported that Whitacre would be receiving a massive $158 million retirement package. The announcement has sparked yet another round of discussions over the huge compensations that executives in corporate America have been receiving as of late.

AT&T could not be reached for comment on this story

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

chips_ahoy 12/5/2012 | 3:09:32 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay the whole stock options blow up is chump change compared to this. when are we going to realize that chairman and ceo have conflicting interests and therefore these roles that should not be executed by the same individual.

if i owned T, i'd by hopping mad right now.
DarkWriting 12/5/2012 | 3:09:31 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay DEATH TO CAPITALISM!!!!

BTW, it's could've or could have NOT could of, SHEESH! Also it's their, there or they're, you all can figure out which is the right one for your sentence!
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:09:31 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay
Actually AT&T Park in San Francisco was built by the SF Giants. AT&T just has the naming rights that it picked up through Pac Bell.

I am just confused why an executive gets a "package". When I retire, I get a handshake and a good luck. As a shareholder, I want Ed Whitacre to get $0 and no benefits - just like any other employee.

rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:09:31 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay if i owned T, i'd by hopping mad right now.

Yeah. I'm hopping mad too. They're shoving this cost saving U-verse crap down our throats while Whitacre walks away with the cash that could of laid down the lines for 150,000 or so. I guess our superheros need their rewards and, unfortunately, *these* superheros really don't give a shit about anybody else.

Hey, let's go raid the electric fund to build another stadium!! That's what the public wants, right? Doesn't matter, they'll buy it.
thierryh 12/5/2012 | 3:09:29 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay it's interesting to note that just now in France, similar stories of highly paid (but "only" between Gé¼5M and Gé¼10M) retiring top execs gets to the news' highlights and many politicians are expressing their views on that matter...

and for a 10-times more "offending" retiring package of Whitacre, the news hardly reach the top of business news and do not seem to make politicians react much...
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:09:23 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay ?? - Not sure what you mean, lap_work. We've got the result of the vote right there in the story.
lap_work 12/5/2012 | 3:09:23 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay So..., the measure failed - 56% against, 44% for.
So, T execs will continue to get $100M plus paydays,
but LR doesn't report the results.

Typical Light Reading -- all hype -- few facts
wrt what actually happened.
Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:09:22 PM
re: AT&T Holders Cry Foul Over Exec Pay The result was posted in the orginal story. There is no way you can "overhype" a $158M retirement package.

56% to 44% vote is an extremely close vote for a corproate proxy vote, when you consider the advantages the board of directors has in lining up all their lackeys and gathering insider votes.

If anything, to me, this 44% indicates there was serious shareholder outcry on this.
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