AT&T execs punished for failed T-Mobile deal

Apparently failure is not an option when it comes to mega deals being pursued at AT&T, and no one knows this better than Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson.

For his role in AT&T’s failed $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile USA, the company’s board cut Stephenson’s 2011 compensation by $2.08 million, AT&T disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Associated Press. The figure reflects a cut in his cash bonus and stock options.

OK, Stephenson’s total compensation was still $18.7 million, but $2 million isn’t exactly chump change.

In the SEC filing, AT&T noted that while it had “strong operational performance” during the year (it made $3.9 billion), it took a big hit when it left T-Mobile at the altar, and someone has to help foot the bill. AT&T had to give its rival $4.2 billion in cash and spectrum rights, the AP reported.

Stephenson, however, wasn’t the only one to take a pay hit. The SEC filing also said the pay of other executive officers was docked.

Facing opposition from federal antitrust regulators, AT&T dropped its bid for T-Mobile in December.

54 comments Add your comment

Scott

February 23rd, 2012
4:29 pm

Yeah like this really hurts him, meanwhile employees get a 1.5% raise!

Henry Halloran

February 23rd, 2012
4:32 pm

Scott – no one is forcing you to work at AT&T. If you can make more on the open market, then go do.

Mrs. G

February 23rd, 2012
4:38 pm

Yeah…While they are still providing the customers with sucky service. Why the heck is he making that much money anyway? They are going to drive that company in the ground just like they did SBC(Southwestern Bell Company)..It’s an unfortunate thing that the company is run by people that just want to make money!!

AT&T Hater

February 23rd, 2012
4:40 pm

So glad that deal was shot down. Would have just been another way to rip off the consumer by a greedy company.

Speed Racer

February 23rd, 2012
4:46 pm

@Mrs. G — I assume you are being sarcastic re: “just want to make money”?

Michael

February 23rd, 2012
4:57 pm

Aw come on, why can’t they just give it away?

Kashi

February 23rd, 2012
4:57 pm

I am really happy it didn’t happen. AT&T sucks. I have been their wireless customer since 1997 and I have been enjoying the unlimited data. For last few weeks they started chocking my data single for usuage. I can no longer use skype, safari in my iPhone unless I am outside the metro area.

Joe

February 23rd, 2012
5:01 pm

This is just grandstanding for the media to get the occupiers off of AT&T’s doorstep. These execs will get their money. And frankly, they deserve what they get paid. As much as some would like it to not be, it’s still an open market.

CG

February 23rd, 2012
5:02 pm

“Why the heck is he making that much money anyway?”. Because he’s the CEO of AT&T, that’s why Mrs. G.

The only reason people work is to make money, why not make the most you can? Why would anyone turn down that much money if they were qualified to be a CEO of a Fortune 100 Company?

I will agree with you that AT&T Wireless service is horrible.

JRHD

February 23rd, 2012
5:03 pm

D@mn those capitalist pigs and their incessant desire to make money! I say free cell service for all. Viva Che!

BamaFan

February 23rd, 2012
5:06 pm

@Scott, lucky you. I used to work at AT&T for 5+ years (Well BellSouth for part of those good years) and I don’t even remember getting one that high, however, my quota went up!

Prez Obozo

February 23rd, 2012
5:11 pm

Finally a company holding an executive to some accountability! This needs to happen all over the country instead of lay-offs & then bonuses for these overpaid sissy golf players,

ihorizon

February 23rd, 2012
5:17 pm

I really miss BellSouth.

BamaFan

February 23rd, 2012
5:20 pm

@ihorizon they were the best. Knew how to make employees feel valued and get more work out of them while at the same time, giving great rewards for doing so. That’s why I left and joined Cbeyond!

Rhett Butler

February 23rd, 2012
5:21 pm

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

ihorizon

February 23rd, 2012
5:29 pm

@BamaFan: Yes, BellSouth was a great company. I worked there over a decade and after the merger, I was let go. I thought I would have no trouble finding work before and after the layoff, but to this day, I am still unemployed. I have been praying to the LORD above as HE gave me this BellSouth job so I’m sure another one will appear. When a door closes, another window opens. I just hope it is soon.

Techmom

February 23rd, 2012
5:38 pm

That $2m was probably just part of his bonus. I’m sure his stock options earn him more than that yearly.

@ihorizon – come back as a contractor or consultant. ATT doesn’t hire people directly anymore but there are a ton of us working for consulting companies. I’ve worked for one for 9+years. My husband worked for Bellsouth/ATT for 10 years and was laid off. Worked for a couple of other companies and is now back as a consultant. I personally can’t stand the environment but the alternatives are few & far between so I choose not to complain [much].

AT&T Who?

February 23rd, 2012
5:50 pm

Mrs. G

AT&T IS Southwestern Bell. They bought the AT&T Company and changed their name. BellSouth had the opportunity to do the same but (their CEO at the time) declined and wound up being bought out by the same Southwestern Bell company. The reason AT&T went under is that they provided “sucky” service (pointed out by another comment).

ihorizon

February 23rd, 2012
5:51 pm

@Techmom: I would love to do that if I knew what to apply for and how as my old job was centered around on organizational support and administrative-technical type work. I once did work in data center earlier in my “career”.

AT&T Who?

February 23rd, 2012
5:52 pm

And, by the way, I assume that several of you thought that those CEO’s earned their pay and were worth it also.

Native Atlantan

February 23rd, 2012
6:01 pm

AT&T didn’t go under because of sucky service. They had no growth markets. Mobility was split between AT&T and Cingular (previously BellSouth Mobility). SBC grabs AT&T for the name and network, then changes the name from SBC to AT&T. The new AT&T then grabs Cingular and BellSouth to close out the deal. Not an employee or ex-employee here — just know the history. I’ve had AT&T wireless for nearly 15 years….traveled worldwide and never had any real problems other than dropped calls here and there.

PR

February 23rd, 2012
6:06 pm

And your AT&T bill will go up. These a-holes should’ve been fired over this fiasco. Talk about idiots!

AT&T Who?

February 23rd, 2012
6:19 pm

Native Atlantan – I did work for the original AT&T and I can tell you that while the operational service was good, the customer care organization ran it into the ground, along with the CEO and management team. What you are talking about is the AT&T Wireless, which started out by the original AT&T buying McCaw Cellular and changing the name to AT&T cellular. The reason that they had to buy McCaw is that they were not allowed to keep their own wireless service by a Federal judge when AT&T was broken up. So, all of the baby Bells formed their own cellular services, SouthernBell formed BellSouth Mobility and SBC formed Cingular. BellSouth Mobility bought out the cellular service from the original AT&T when AT&T got into financial difficulity and the combined company became AT&T Wireless until the joint venture with Cingular. After SBC bought out Southern Bell, they then bought out the original AT&T, or what was left of it and changed the name of the whole shebang to AT&T.

AT&T Who?

February 23rd, 2012
6:21 pm

Scott

February 23rd, 2012
6:22 pm

My point about the raise was that the CEO is getting his share but we continue to see increases sales quotas and less investment in systems to get anything done. I have to say that while I complain, I would find it hard to make anything more elsewhere. So it is what it is, maybe someday things will get better. HAHAHAHA

@Native Atlantan – Cingular was a joint venture with BellSouth and SBC. AT&T didn’t grab Cingular, Cingular bought AT&T wireless then when SBC (AT&T) bought BellSouth they changed the name to AT&T Wireless. So essentially the company is SBC.

Mrs. G

February 23rd, 2012
6:22 pm

At any rate, the are still sucky!! If you ONLY KNEW what I REALLY KNOW..

Bhorsoft

February 23rd, 2012
6:29 pm

I’m with you BamaFan. That’s why I’m with Cbeyond, too!

ihorizon

February 23rd, 2012
6:36 pm

My recollection is that Cingular was formerly BellSouth Mobility a few years before the att merger took place. I know as I handled those darn pesty ipagers and blackberries.

Anna

February 23rd, 2012
6:37 pm

I hate AT&T and SWB. Bad service, out of touch management and too many employees who don’t care. But envy is still unattractive.

ideas

February 23rd, 2012
6:39 pm

Ms G…You are so wrong. AT&T was driven out of business by the Federal Govt. SBC actually bought what was left of it. Now the sorry SBC is driving the whole company they bought, Ameritec, Bell South, Pac Bell, Southern New England Tele co. etc. So you see the leadership is still in Texas, not New Jersey where the orignal and great AT&T was. Now you have a little local Telephone company trying to run a national company. SBC is the bad one, not AT&T.

RobertC

February 23rd, 2012
6:42 pm

What do you suppose would happen to an employee if they were short $100 in the till? They would be fired and rightly so, but lose 4 billion? get docked 10% and have to give up buying that, well, making 18 million instead of 20 million, never mind.

AT&T Who?

February 23rd, 2012
6:49 pm

If the original AT&T was great, then why did they get bought out by one of their subsidiaries? I’ll tell you why. Poor managment.

In reality, their are probably only a handfull of visionary leaders worth the money paid to a CEO. Among them are Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jack Welsh (GE), and arguably, Michael Eisner of Disney to name a few. The proponderance of them are political climbers with a singular (no pun intended) talent of self-promotion.

AT&T Who?

February 23rd, 2012
6:51 pm

Robert C – Bob Allen of the original AT&T lost 12 Billion (by his own admission) on the purchase of NCR during their ill fated attempt at entering the computer market. Nothing happened to him.

As I said, poor management.

Avg American

February 23rd, 2012
6:52 pm

poor guy…how is he gonna make ends meet now with only 16.7m and stock options etc…? I am really concerned for his livelyhood…

Randy steven's son

February 23rd, 2012
6:56 pm

jake

February 23rd, 2012
7:10 pm

Yes, But what you don’t know is that some of thge departments in the organization have already been told no raises this year, and that some things now will not be purchased due to this infamous flub!

Kyle

February 23rd, 2012
7:16 pm

They should of fired him. How do executives get away with such a waste of shareholder money? Executives are not held accountable any longer…even the crooks!

Verizon

February 23rd, 2012
7:30 pm

Can you hear me now?
Not with ATT service..

grahzny bratchny

February 23rd, 2012
7:44 pm

They should be punished. And, they have achieved about as much as they can, but you don’t get richer or anywhere else by not taking a chance and I believe the company needed to. Had it worked there would be happier AT&T customers and the opposite on the T-Mobile side. These guys are not morons, but I am sure there are plenty at AT&T, just like my company, and yours. Those are the folks in traffic not paying attention or not using a turn signal, not wiping the toilet seat at work or a littany of other issues created by laziness and the lack of respect for others. Or, who took the last cup of coffee and did not make more or that dude in so and so department never answers his email and he never gets in trouble.

“Who F’n cares, I got mine.” That’s not a bumper sticker I see, but it could be very popular.

I served my country for a bunch of morons and inconsiderate turds? Make me a politician and give me a few dollars – we will see eye to eye too.

Middle aged cynic,

huh?

February 23rd, 2012
7:48 pm

Mrs. G – I’m not sure you really know anything? Driving SBC into the ground? AT&T is SBC…. Run by people who just want to make money? That’s EXACTLY what they want to do because its a business. Yes, a business. Perhaps you should look up the term ‘business.” A business only exists to make money, and that’s the only reason why a business exists.

savannadawg

February 23rd, 2012
8:13 pm

Has anybody really saved any money since AT&T acquired Bell South. I personally don’t think so. They sure stuck it to me. Now I see were that money went, because it sure as hell didn’t go to service!

Swerve

February 23rd, 2012
8:16 pm

Exactly. The company is SBC. They chose (unfortunately) to take the AT&T name. That was Whitacre’s decision. People love to shoot their mouths off about what they know not. Also T Mobile is going bankrupt, out of F&*ing business. Some one has to buy them. And ATT could have saved some jobs but now it is certain quite a few people are going to be out of work. And news flash jack#@ses ATT is now buying up Tmobile a piece at a time. Tmobile has to liquidate just to stay a float as long as it can. It’s starting with the antennas.

savannadawg

February 23rd, 2012
8:18 pm

But, since I got on this track, I’ll just say I hate them all. All the services drop calls not just AT&T. These companies charge too much money if one has to go outside (my house) just to talk to someone else.

george

February 23rd, 2012
8:20 pm

veriaon’s lobbyists did a better job than att’s lobbyists when the purchase of tmobile was being considered and was able to block it as a threat to competition. now verizon is trying to buy all the band width possible and tmobile and att are trying to block it as a barrier to competition. the only winners in al this are the lobbyists and “consultants’ whose fees keep going up no matter which side wins.

AT&T Sucks

February 23rd, 2012
8:26 pm

AT&T needs to go out of business! I despise this company and GLAD I don’t have any services with them.

Can't have it both ways

February 23rd, 2012
8:28 pm

This wasn’t Wall Street creating some worthless derivatives to hawk to the unsuspecting. AT&T invested more money in the US in 2010 (’11 figures not out but estimates are that they did last year too) – $19.5 billion – than any company in the US. Much more than Exxon and Wal-Mart combined. That means they employed a lot of people during a time when many didn’t have jobs. The T-Mobile deal would have improved your “sucky service” and employed even more people. The union was hugely in favor of the deal because of the jobs it would have created. Now with the deal gone sour, there’s no place to grow for the foreseeable future. You can either have more taxes to shore up the economy and have the government decide where to invest the money (and we know how good a job they do with that.) Or have companies like AT&T look for places to make a profit and invest in the country at the same time. Here’s a Forbes article on why killing the deal wasn’t such a good idea.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesglassman/2011/09/14/for-the-best-infrastructure-investment-free-the-telecom-and-energy-sectors/

Jesse

February 23rd, 2012
8:30 pm

So they lost 4.2b on the T mobile deal but made only 3.9b profit so for all you pure capitalist and free marketeers this clown cost your shareholders on the order of 300m last year and you want to keep him around and pay him 18m ?? No wonder our economy is shot with malfeasance like this. Sack the sob now.

RedandBlackPeachy

February 23rd, 2012
8:39 pm

Correction to Native Atlantan—Cingular was owned by SBC (AT&T) and Bell South. For those who curse the money that Randall Stephenson makes, he couldn’t make that kind of money (even with the paycut) if the his direction of the company was not paying dividends to shareholders and the board. As an employee who works for the company, having exec staff that are concerned about the bottom line makes me happy because it ensures my continued employment and allows me to bonus handsomely. As far as 1.5% raises, since the increases are merit increases….well enough said. Are they perfect? Well, no. But when I talk to people at other corporations and we compare notes; let’s just say I have no desire to do any job shopping except in internal AT&T.

ATT Hater #2

February 23rd, 2012
9:09 pm

I have T mobile, and I’m glad these bloodsuckers didn’t get their grimy paws on this company. Everything ATT touches becomes a rape machine.

David

February 23rd, 2012
9:20 pm

@Can’t have it both ways. Your post is a good one. It should make everyone stop and think. Everyone loves Apple but I wonder what their capital investment in the U.S. is??? I have an iPhone and I love it – still, “can’t” raises a good point.