Verizon CEO Seidenberg's 2008 pay at $20.2M

Mon, 03/02/2009 - 7:05am
Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Ivan Seidenberg, the chief executive of Verizon Communications Inc., received $20.2 million in compensation in 2008, essentially the same as in the last two years, according to a regulatory filing.

Seidenberg will be one of the first CEOs at a major company to face the need to justify his pay directly to shareholders. At the annual meeting on May 7, shareholders will vote on whether the 2008 compensation package is reasonable. The vote won't be binding, but a "no" result could be embarrassing to the company.

Any company that is receiving financial bailout money (Verizon isn't) has to give shareholders such a vote. The Obama administration also wants to broaden the requirement to all companies.

Seidenberg's bonus was $3.7 million, down 11 percent from 2007, according the proxy filing late Thursday. His stock award was virtually the same as in 2007, at $13.13 million, and his salary remained $2.1 million.

The New York-based telecommunications company's stock fell 22.1 percent in 2008 (accounting for a spin-off), as credit woes brought down the general market. The S&P 500 fell 38.5 percent. The company also met or exceeded most of the targets on which it bases executive compensation, except for adjusted earnings per share, which fell slightly short.

The "say on pay" vote was instituted after a campaign by The Association of BellTel Retirees. This year, the group is asking that the company separate the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. A similar proposal was voted down by shareholders last year.

The Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation, and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Seidenberg's $20.2 million compensation in 2008 included perks worth $946,754, including $144,489 in personal use of a company aircraft, and $491,226 in contributions to a deferred-savings plan.

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