AT & T CEO accepts bonus; pay rises to $20.2M

Fri, 03/12/2010 - 7:05am
Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – The frugality of the recession eased in the 2009 pay package for AT&T Inc. CEO Randall Stephenson, who resumed taking a bonus and saw his compensation rise by one-third to $20.2 million, according to Associated Press calculations on a regulatory filing Thursday.

Stephenson declined a bonus in 2008 because of the recession and the job cuts the telecommunications company was making. Last year, Stephenson accepted a bonus of $5.85 million, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

AT&T said Stephenson received a $1.45 million salary in 2009, a 2 percent increase over 2008.

Most of his compensation was in the form of options and performance-based stock incentives valued at $12.1 million.

He accumulated more than $864,000 in perks, including nearly $216,000 in club memberships and $200,000 in life insurance premiums. He also got $140,576 in "tax gross-ups," which compensate for the taxes he pays on other benefits. However, the company said it is eliminating such gross-ups for its executives this year.

The Associated Press' calculations of total pay includes 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 exclude 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 SEC.

In 2008, Stephenson's pay was $15 million, according to calculations by the AP. In 2007, his first year as CEO, he earned $18 million.

Dallas-based AT&T is the country's largest telecommunications carrier, and Stephenson's 2009 pay exceeded the $17.5 million earned by Ivan Seidenberg, CEO at the second-largest carrier, Verizon Communications Inc.

Stephenson also had $6.9 million worth of stock vest in 2009. He didn't exercise any options, according to the filing.

For all of 2009, AT&T earned $12.5 billion, or $2.12 per share, on revenue of $123 billion. That compared with 2008 earnings of $12.9 billion, or $2.16 per share, on revenue of $124 billion.

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