The Association of U S West Retirees



No signal in exec's stock sales
Qwest CFO says top brass remain heavily invested in company
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Recent stock sales by top executives at Qwest Communications shouldn't be construed as a lack of confidence in the company's future, the Denver telco's chief financial officer indicated Wednesday at an analysts conference.  Chief Financial Officer Oren Shaffer, who recently made more that $18 million exercising stock options, said he sold 30 percent to 35 percent of his holdings for tax-planning reasons and tried to do it in the most "market-friendly way."

"The number of shares wasn't all that great anyhow," Shaffer said, though acknowledging it resulted in an "unintended signal" to the marketplace.  "It has nothing at all (to do) with my view about the company.  I continue to be heavily invested in the company."

Shaffer noted Qwest CEO Dick Notebaert, who also made more that $18 million and is donating his profits to charities, also remains heavily invested in Qwest.

In all, Qwest's executive team netted more that $50 million in recent weeks by exercising low-priced stock options.

Qwest founder Phil Anschutz also has arranged to sell a majority of his stock in the past several months.

Shaffer's comments came at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York.

UBS telecommunications analyst John Hodulik, who rates Qwest stock a "buy," led the question-and-answer period by asking how investors should view the insider stock sales.

Investors have sent Qwest shares down more than 15 percent since Oct. 30, the day before the company announced its third-quarter results.,2777,DRMN_23910_5195595,00.html