What's This 'Ed Whitacre Exit Package Recovery Fee' Doing Under Miscellaneous Charges?
Looks like Verizon Communications Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg’s brief turn as the emblem of America’s out-of-control CEO pay machine has ended. When AT&T CEO Edward “The-Internet-can’t-be-free” Whitacre retires later this spring, he will receive an exit package nearly eight times that of Seidenberg’s $20 million gilded parachute. According to The Wall Street Journal, Whitacre (shown right, chuckling at your phone bill) will depart AT&T with one of corporate America’s biggest retirement packages, valued at a jaw-dropping $158.5 million. Padding the deal, a list of “other benefits” is certain to turn shareholders’ stomachs. Among them: $1 million a year for three years for work as a consultant to the company during his retirement, $75,000 to cover his country-club fees, $24,000 in annual automobile benefits, $6,500 to cover “home security” each year and access to AT&T’s corporate jet for 10 hours a month. Oh, and $15,600 a year in “tax assistance.”
This, despite the fact that AT&T’s share price has not fared as well as those of its rivals. “Given the company’s total stock return, this amount is very excessive,” Alexandra Higgins, the Corporate Library’s compensation analyst, told the Los Angeles Times. “In our opinion, there’s no need for this waste of shareholder money. Other companies are seeing this and are going to try to match it. And that just increases the levels of executive compensation. When does it end?”