Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tears for Randy

As we have already pointed out, our friend Randall Stephenson, the Chairman, President, and CEO of AT&T, received $22 million in compensation for 2007. That's pretty impressive, considering the fact that he can't even figure out how to find 3600 Americans to fill customer service jobs. He promised to bring 5000 jobs back to this country in 2006, now regrets it, and spends his time (worth more than $2500 an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) bemoaning the lack of qualified workers in the United States, calling them "defective" (via Citizen Carrie, an MSN article).

Let's be fair, though; Randy probably went to a prestigious school, one that colored his judgment as to the value of the education that other Americans get. Let's see, he went to the University of Central Oklahoma. That ranks as a fourth-tier school in the US News & World Report rankings. Not exactly what I was expecting, but he was probably really good there.

Moving on, we should remember that Randy didn't become chairman and CEO until June of 2007, so we can hope he does a little better for himself this year (of course, it would help if the stock price would go up, as it's actually down since he took over). Let's move on to this year's proxy statement. What is always amusing is to look at "All Other Compensation." Randy gets $14,000 for "Financial counseling"; remember, those fabulous jobs he can't fill pay $15/hour, so Randy will pay about half an FTE for money advice. His "Auto benefits" total $21,047. At standard IRS mileage rates, that's about 43,400 miles worth, which is a lot of driving. "Personal use of Company aircraft" - $89,919 (why, that's three call center employees). "Home security" - $15,455.

But as we all know, wealth is relative. Randy's not comparing himself to the rest of us, he's looking around. So he probably feels really bad when he realizes he was only the third-highest paid employee of AT&T in 2007. The former president & CEO of AT&T Mobility, Stanley T. Sigman, received $36.9 million. And Randy's predecessor, the man who moved the corporate headquarters of AT&T from St. Louis to San Antonio out of pique at being blackballed by a country club, Ed Whitacre, collected $78.3 million.

So we should find some sympathy for poor Randall L. Stephenson, a man who is outearned at his own company by two guys who don't even work there anymore. This likely explains why he can't rouse himself to fill those jobs. He can't stop thinking about how Stan and Ed's compensation would pay for all 3600 workers he's so desperate to find, leaving an extra $7.2 million for other things (a little more home security, perhaps?).


Anonymous said...

What amazes me the most is that Randall Stephenson gets paid for using the company's aircraft, especially when the usage is for his personal business.

AT&T should save the $89,919 to pay for several extra jobs, to make several families live a little better. If Randall Stephenson will not fly the company jet because he is not paid for doing so, that will be great news for all at&t shareholders.

Androcass said...


But if the Stephenson family has to stand in line at an airport like the rest of us, it will cause Randy to worry; if he wastes just 36 hours a year on that concern, that costs more than the value of the private airplane usage. So it's actually cost-effective for investors.

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