I saw what AT&T (nee SBC) did up in the Tri-Cities of Illinois and I watched Whitacre single-handedly create the net neutrality dustup that came back to bite AT&T so completely. If that were not enough, I still can't believe that AT&T, now the worlds largest Telecom, doesn't have the guts to go for the FTTH solution that even tiny Kaplan Telephone understands is necessary for it (and the community it serves') future. Whitacre has been enormously bad for his customers and their communities--I don't think that can be disputed.
But I had bought the idea that he was good--in a narrow, shortsighted, destructive sort of way, for the company and its short-term profit and shareholder returns.
Apparently not. In a letter addressed to Whitacre about his retirement package:
What kind of risks and innovation has SBC/AT&T taken recently? It's built a watered-down fiber-to-the-curb network that's dwarfed by many fiber projects worldwide. You are now the largest telecom incumbent operator on the planet, yet you're taking fewer risks than just about anybody. Less risk, higher pay. Not a bad deal if you can get it.Click on over and get the gory details.
Perhaps the generous compensation package is in appreciation of all the fine lobbying efforts your team has conducted in Washington to preserve the incumbent footprint and defend yourself against innovation. If that is indeed the rationale for your pay package, then you deserve it. AT&T has shown true excellence in lobbying. Your team knows how to preserve the system.
Here's what I really think of this pay package: It's a farce. It's a symbol that the pure arrogance and imperial management style of incumbent telcos is here to say. It's proof that your company is focused more on maintaining the status quo and maximizing executive pay, than on innovation and the creation of shareholder value.