The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest drops perk for execs
The payouts to cover unreported expenses were eliminated following complaints by a shareholder.
By Andy Vuong
Denver Post
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Qwest has eliminated a perk in which top executives were given tens of thousands of dollars a year to cover unreported expenses, the company disclosed in a filing Friday.

A shareholder slammed the perk at the company's annual meeting in May, calling it "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" compensation.

Qwest spokeswoman Diane Reberger said the company eliminated the payout "to simplify our executive compensation structure and to provide shareholders more transparency."

Chief executive Ed Mueller received the largest allowance, $75,000, paid at the beginning of the year to cover expenses such as financial counseling, physical exams and club memberships.  Mueller and four other executives who received the perk did not have to report how they used it.

"It's a small win on our parts as shareowners," said Qwest retiree Nelson Phelps.

The company also revealed in the regulatory filing that it has extended by a year the deadline for when chief financial officer Joseph Euteneuer can request that Qwest buy his former principal residence in Washington, D.C.  The deadline had been next month and was included in Euteneuer's employment contract when he joined the company in September 2008.

Qwest bought Mueller's home shortly after he joined in August 2007 and sold it for a $1.8 million loss.

Also Friday, the company announced that former McDonald's chief operating officer Michael J. Roberts has joined Qwest's board of directors as its 13th member.  Roberts fills a seat vacated by Frank Popoff, a longtime board member who didn't seek re-election this year.

Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or