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AT&T Chief's Pay Jumped Last Year To Over $17 Million
By Dionne Searcey
The Wall Street Journal
Saturday, February 11, 2006

AT&T Inc.'s chairman and chief executive, Edward Whitacre, earned more than $17 million in 2005, a sharp increase from his compensation during the previous year, according to documents filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Whitacre, who presided over the former SBC Communications Inc.'s takeover of AT&T Corp. in November to create the new AT&T, earned a base salary of $2.12 million as well as a $7.13 million bonus.  He earned $2.67 million in "other annual compensation," which the company described as personal benefits.

Mr. Whitacre also took in $4.8 million in long-term incentive payments and about $250,000 for items such as premiums on insurance polices and other miscellaneous items, the company said.  He exercised options last year valued at $137,132.

The SEC has recently called for clearer disclosure of executive compensation, which has been a target of some consumer activists and shareholders who think the pay for top company officials has skyrocketed excessively in some industries.

Mr. Whitacre's 2005 salary represents a sizable bump up for the leader of the San Antonio-based phone company.  In 2004, he earned a total of roughly $14 million.

Company officials said Mr. Whitacre's salary was well deserved.  AT&T's stock has risen since its acquisition, which put the company in a better strategic position to compete globally.  "He put this company in the best shape of any in the telecom or entertainment business," said a spokeswoman for AT&T.

Write to Dionne Searcey at dionne.searcey@wsj.com

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