Shareholder Proposals Denied
By Sandy Shore, AP
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
DENVER (AP) - Qwest Communications International Inc.
shareholders soundly rejected Wednesday three proposals that
would have given them more clout in decisions about executive
The votes came during the Denver-based telecommunications
company's annual meeting where Chief Executive Officer Dick
Notebaert was peppered with questions about salary and bonuses
-- including his -- and cuts or caps in benefits for about
49,000 retirees across Qwest's 14-state territory.
The proposals on executive compensation, sponsored by retirees
and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal
Employees Pension Plan, come as more shareholders are seeking a
greater role in deciding how company executives should be paid.
The defeated proposals included a so-called "say for pay"
measure that would have allowed a non-binding shareholder vote
on executive compensation packages. It was defeated 67 percent
to 20 percent with about 14 percent abstaining.
AFSCME pension plan, institutional investors and other retiree
organizations have pushed the "say for pay" proposal at a number
of companies this year. It has been approved by shareholders at
some companies, including Verizon Communications Inc., while it
has been narrowly defeated at others.
Scott Adams, a spokesman for the AFSCME pension plan, said after
the meeting that the group would resubmit the proposal next
year. "Whenever one-third (of the shareholders) don't agree
with the company, it's a pretty strong message," he said.
Before the session began, Adams dressed in a fuzzy yellow
chicken suit and stood outside the hotel to promote his cause,
at one point drawing Notebaert out for a chat while retirees
clustered around them.
A second shareholder measure would have required the board to
establish a policy that required at least 75 percent of future
equity compensation for senior executives to be based on
performance. It was defeated 82 percent to 17 percent.
The third proposal would have given shareholders the authority
to approve supplemental executive retirement plans or some
benefits under the company's non-qualified pension plan. It was
defeated 68 percent to 32 percent.
Shareholders approved a management proposal for a restated
equity incentive plan, a slate of directors for the next year
and the appointment of an independent auditor. They rejected a
shareholder request to separate the roles of board chairman and
Qwest is the primary telephone service provider in 14 states
ranging from Minnesota to Washington and south to New Mexico.
On the Net: htpp://www.qwest.com