Some Qwest directors warm to stockholders at annual event
By Jane Hoback & Gil Rudawsky
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, May 30, 2008
Nelson Phelps noticed a change by Qwest's board of directors
this year at the annual stockholders meeting.
Phelps, executive director of the Association of U S West
Retirees, said they were more accessible, with many in the
entryway a half-hour before the meeting, introducing themselves
and chatting with stockholders. He singled out director Frank
Popoff, who he said promised to talk with other directors later
that day about some of the retirees' issues.
Phelps didn't get quite the same warm response from James Unruh,
chairman of Qwest's compensation and human resources committee.
"I believe you and I were in the same article," Phelps said he
told Unruh, referring to a recent Wall Street Journal article.
The article reported that a union investment group had sent a
letter to Unruh, complaining about a relocation benefit given to
Qwest CEO Ed Mueller that cost the company $1.8 million.
"(Unruh) gave me a stern look and walked away," Phelps said.
The telco's retirees also said they believed Mueller did a good
job listening to their concerns, which included complaints about
executive compensation, board oversight and the decrease in
"Mueller seemed to be genuinely listening," Phelps said. "He
wasn't agreeing with everything he heard, but he was respectful
to our retirees."
Mimi Hull, president of the Association of U S West Retirees,
said she is more skeptical, and that more needs to be done to
overcome the image that management and the board live in an