Verizon's CEO Gets Hefty Pay Raise
Seidenberg Had Salary Of $2.1 Million in 2005, Up Nearly
By Dionne Searcey
The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Verizon Communications Inc., which lost ground in the
stock market in 2005 compared with its Bell peers, gave
Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg a nearly $600,000 raise last
year, boosting his salary to $2.1 million, according to
The company's board also increased his total 2005 bonus to
$4.15 million, compared with $3.38 million in 2004,
according to Verizon's proxy filing to the Securities and
Exchange Commission. Last year, Mr. Seidenberg also
received $1.71 million in "other compensation," which
includes company contributions to savings plans and other
Over the course of the year, Mr. Seidenberg used the Verizon
corporate jet and a company car for personal purposes,
perquisites valued at $120,000. Verizon also gave him
$10,000 as an allowance for financial planning services.
The raise was his first in five years and better aligns Mr.
Seidenberg with his peers, Verizon said in the filing,
adding, "Under Mr. Seidenberg's leadership, the company
delivered strong financial and operational performance as
the company continued to grow its customer base."
The company is facing skepticism from some investors who
worry it could be spending too much to upgrade its network
with fiber optics. While most of the major phone companies
are adding more fiber upgrades, Verizon's plan is by far the
most extensive and expensive. Investors hammered the
company's stock last year, driving it down more than 14%.
Shares have bounced back a bit so far this year. They
fell 19 cents to $34.22 in 4 p.m. New York Stock Exchange
composite trading yesterday.
Verizon said Mr. Seidenberg's long-term incentive award for
2005, which is tied to his performance, was valued at $11.34
million, which consisted of 314,480 performance stock units
at their February 2005 grant value.
According to the proxy filing, investors are raising
questions about the independence of Verizon's board. Three
proposals from shareholders in the proxy filing spell out
overlapping board memberships and some members' ties to
business dealings with Verizon.
For example, one proposal says that board member Richard
Carrion is chief executive of a bank that is Verizon's
co-investor in a Puerto Rico telecom operation. Also,
according to the proxy proposal, board member and Verizon
Vice Chairman Lawrence Babbio once sat on the compensation
committee of the board of
Aramark Corp., whose chief executive, Joseph Neubauer,
is a Verizon board member. The shareholders also say
Verizon board member Robert Storey recently retired as a
partner in a firm providing legal services to Verizon.
Longtime board member Sandra Moose retired about three years
ago as an executive of Boston Consulting Group, a firm to
which Verizon paid hefty sums for consulting services.
Verizon said much of the allegations from the shareholders
are outdated and the company insists that its members are
independent by New York Stock Exchange standards and its
own, more comparatively strict, standards.
Write to Dionne Searcey at