AUSWR
The Association of U S West Retirees
 

 

 

Qwest to propose changes in executive stock policies
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Qwest Communications is responding to pressure from its third largest shareholder and will recommend changes to the way it gives stock to its executives.  But the recommendations will be made to the board of directors later this year, not in time for this morning's annual shareholders meeting at the downtown Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Qwest said it will recommend that restricted stock and other equity awards have vesting periods of at least three years, in response to concerns by Fidelity Management and Research Corp.  Another recommendation would link executive awards to at least one year's performance.  Restrictions could be waived in the case of a change of company control, retirement, disability or death.

"Basically, there was a particular shareholder that expressed concerns, and we listen to our shareholders, and this letter was our response to their concerns," Qwest spokeswoman Diane Reberger said.  She said the recommendations will be made to the board's compensation committee later this year.

Fidelity is Qwest's third largest institutional stockholder with 194 million shares, or 10.5 percent, as of March 31, according to a regulatory filing.  That was down 40 million shares from year-end 2006.

The Denver telco has been criticized by other shareholder groups, including retirees, for its executive pay policies.  Qwest is fighting proposals that would give shareholders more oversight on executive pay and retirement packages.

A shareholder advocate will be dressed up as a chicken today, as part of a protest of Qwest's executive pay policies.  The Association of U S West Retirees said some members will be carrying signs with messages such as: "Stop Runaway CEO Pay - Give Shareholders a Say."

smithje@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5155

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/tech/article/0,2777,DRMN_239105550359,00.html