Ed Whitacre may have done well during his tenure as head of SBC / AT&T if you compare the company’s performance to its industry peers, but that sets a very low standard. Whitacre earned tens of millions of dollars per year.
However controversial his salary, his retirement was even worse PR for AT&T. Not known for anti-capitalist tendencies, a blogger at The Wall Street Journal criticized his country club retirement. The reported $158 million package included country club fees ($25,000) and automobile benefits ($24,000 a year). Perhaps Whitacre knows about owning cars but not about buying them.
“AT&T argues that the pay is deserved because the company has “outperformed its peers in delivering value to stockholders” during Whitacre’s tenure. But how about a more basic measure of performance, like how an investment in the company has stacked up against the broader stock market since Whitacre, a serial acquirer, took the top job at the company, then known as SBC Communications, in 1990? By that scorecard the conglomerate that he now runs — which has morphed into the new AT&T — is valued at just under 2.5 times its worth back then, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has risen more than four fold,” argued Dana Cimilluca in his Wall Street Journal blog.
InternetNews.com combed twitter and contacted some notaries, asking them to weigh in on the selection.