The Association of U S West Retirees



Off to School, in a Corporate Jet
New York Times
Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Some high school students will be making their way back to school this week on a bus, or, if they are lucky, in their very own car.  But the stepdaughter of Edward Mueller, the new chief executive of Qwest Communications, has a much fancier option.

A regulatory filing made Friday, on the eve of the holiday weekend, disclosed that Qwest has authorized Mr. Mueller’s wife and her daughter to use Qwest’s corporate jet to travel between Denver, where the telecommunications company is based, and California, where Mr. Mueller’s stepdaughter is finishing high school.

Asked about the filing by the Rocky Mountain News, a Qwest spokesman said the agreement reflects an “appreciation for his family situation as his daughter wraps up her current schooling in California.”

Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate for the Corporate Library, which studies corporate governance issues, called the arrangement “ridiculous.”  Of 215 public companies that the Corporate Library examined in a recent report, he said, only 28 allowed a chief executive’s family and friends to use the corporate jet.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently changed the rules surrounding executive compensation, requiring greater disclosure of the perks that top management receives.  The changes came amid widespread concern that shareholders of public companies were not fully aware of the size and scope of the benefits that corporate chiefs were getting.

Last month, Qwest chose Mr. Mueller, a telecommunications industry veteran and a former chief executive of the retailer Williams-Sonoma, to succeed Richard Notebaert as its chief executive.  The move required Mr. Mueller to relocate from California to Colorado., which looks for interesting nuggets among corporate filings, estimated that the corporate-jet perk could be costing Qwest as much as $600,000, based on normal charter rates for the Falcon 2000.  “As for me, it certainly beats the B-64 bus that I used to take to high school,” Michelle Leder wrote.

12 comments so far...

1.  September 4th, 2007  7:55 pm
As far as disclosure goes, it seems fair to me, because, everybody will remember the outrageous perks that has been given to the top managements of several corporations that has gone through the harsh public test without any disclosure whatsoever, anyway they are disclosed this time. Of course, just because they are disclosed, that doesn’t mean that they are right thing to do. We will see what is gong to happen at next shareholder’s meeting. Or isn’t it true that as along as it doesn’t hurt the company’s earnings, the perks is OK ?
— Posted by Charles K

2.  September 5th, 2007  3:06 pm
“Wraps up her schooling”?!?!?!  It’s September, for crying out loud!
— Posted by creeper

3.  September 5th, 2007  3:11 pm
So it’s a $600K bonus.  Are people outraged because of the use of the jet, or because how much he is getting paid?  The $600K is probably a small fraction of his total compensation, so unless you are upset with CEOs of publicly traded companies making tens of millions of dollars, it shouldn’t matter much.  What should be as upsetting to Qwest shareholders and employees is that the Qwest board thinks that someone who runs a retailer of kitchen equipment is qualified to lead one of the largest telecom companies in the country.  Maybe that’s why broadband service in the U.S. is way behind South Korea.
— Posted by ken g.

4.  September 5th, 2007  3:14 pm
Qwest… ever heard of Global Warming? Oh, right, these people are obviously special and so their actions have no consequences…
— Posted by Hail Climate Criminals

5.  September 5th, 2007  3:20 pm
“…as along as it doesn’t hurt the company’s earnings, the perks is OK ?”  Are you kidding?  Do you have any idea what it costs to operate a private jet?  I’m a Qwest customer.  You can bet your life I’ll be looking into other options for phone service.
— Posted by creeper

6.  September 5th, 2007  3:22 pm
A mind is a terrible ting to waste. (Or is it, “A waste is a terrible thing to mind”?)  Sighhhhhh…….
— Posted by Kim

7.  September 5th, 2007  3:26 pm
We don’t want another Tony Snow, do we?  Can’t live on the agreed to salary so he quit.  No, No, No. . . let Mr. Mueller’s daughter have her jet.
— Posted by Victor Adamus

8.  September 5th, 2007  3:33 pm
Do not worry they will just cut worker benefits to make up the money……healthcare benefits more than likely……
— Posted by carroll lown

9.  September 5th, 2007  3:38 pm
“appreciation for his family situation as his daughter wraps up her current schooling in California.”   Don’t they pay the guy enough to fly the wife and kid home on his own dime.  The perks these jerks get is nuts.  Most of them never have to spend one cent of their own money for anything.  The company pays for lunch, the haircut, limo service, vacations, dry cleaning, wake up service, lawn service….it is beyond rediculous.
— Posted by Henk

10.  September 5th, 2007  3:51 pm
What I find amusing is that everyone thinks these perks are so outrageous until they become the beneficiary of such a perk and then it become perfectly reasonable.
— Posted by Jason B

11.  September 5th, 2007  4:06 pm
It’s obscene.
— Posted by P. Frazier

12.  September 5th, 2007  4:37 pm
I am disgusted with corporations - PERIOD!  The more I know about them the more I think they are an outdated business model…..  Everyone I know who works for a corp says nobody serves the best interest of the company -- everyone protects their turf, snipes at newbies with ambition, and otherwise work against the company instead of for it….  My sister works for United and its a nightmare job -- if you travel too much your superiors become jealous and change your schedule so you can’t get away…  lets hear it for the mom and pop operation.
— Posted by Karen Ladik