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Qwest CEO pay increases 5 percent to $12M in 2009

Associated Press


March 23, 2010

NEW YORK Edward Mueller, the chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications International Inc., was awarded compensation valued at nearly $12 million in 2009, a 5 percent increase from the previous year according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing.

Mueller's base salary increased 4 percent to more than $1.2 million. He received no automatic annual bonus, which some companies award to their executives regardless of performance. His performance-based cash bonus, however, climbed 9 percent to $2.5 million from $2.3 million a year earlier.

The bulk of Mueller's compensation was in the form of restricted shares and performance-based restricted stock awards valued at $7.6 million on the date they were granted. He received similar awards of $6.9 million a year earlier. Qwest said it shifted the mix of its executives' long-term incentive awards away from stock options and in favor of performance-based shares. It also froze salaries for 2009.

Mueller's other compensation declined nearly 36 percent to $638,109. Qwest paid $286,720 in dividends on restricted stock, the same amount as in 2008. Mueller also received $248,708 for the personal use of the company aircraft.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which reflect the size of the accounting charge taken for the executive's compensation in the previous fiscal year.

Denver-based Qwest last year cut about 2,800 jobs, or roughly 8.5 percent of its work force, in response to the poor economic climate and the faltering popularity of landline telephones. Its full-year revenue declined 9 percent, but its profit climbed nearly 2 percent. The company's shares rose 16 percent in 2009.

Qwest said in February it expects revenue declines to slow this year as its pension and post-retirement costs fall.