AT&T CEO Nabbed Record $32 Million Compensation In 2019, Despite Rampant Bumbling, Layoffs

from the ill-communication dept

Last year wasn't a particularly good one for AT&T. Despite spending more than $150 billion in mergers in a bid to dominate the streaming video space, the company instead lost 4 million TV subscribers on the year, not exactly what company executives were aiming for. Not only did AT&T's mergers saddle the company with a mountain of debt, the company then tried to extract that debt from its customers in the form of numerous price hikes, ignoring that's not how streaming TV competition is going to work. The company also bumbled its streaming TV branding so badly, it confused even the company's own marketing and support departments.

That's before you get to AT&T's empty promises in 2019, which include receiving billions in regulatory favors (like killing net neutrality and privacy rules at the FCC), subsidies, and $42 billion in Trump tax cuts for promises that never materialized. Not only did they not materialize, but AT&T actually engaged in the exact opposite behavior it had originally promised, trimming overall network investment and laying off nearly 37,000 jobs just since the Trump tax cuts were announced.

Now your first question is probably but how is AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson doing in the wake of all this? Well you'll be happy to know he's just fine: Stephenson received a record $32 million in compensation in 2019, despite a wave of bungled merger mania so intense it even pissed off the company's investors, triggering a revolt. But yes, good job, Randall:

"AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's total compensation was more than $32 million in 2019, giving him a 10 percent raise while he slashed tens of thousands of jobs and reduced spending on network upgrades. Stephenson's total compensation was $28.72 million in 2017, $29.12 million in 2018, and $32.03 million in 2019, an AT&T filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission said. His pay raise was driven by stock performance."

In short, AT&T's employees have been asked to share the brunt of Stephenson's missteps, while Stephenson himself saw his pay increase dramatically. Not too surprisingly, the thousands of AT&T employees fired aren't particularly okay with that:

"That felt like a complete slap in the face, saying how great we were but here is your final pay stub because we did so great last year so we’re going to keep this money and not invest in back into the employment force like they said they would,” said Lorenzano, who worked at the company for over four years before receiving his termination notice, along with dozens of other AT&T DirecTV technicians across California."

Again, you'll see no shortage of stories ahead of mergers (like AT&T Time Warner, or T-Mobile Sprint) parroting telecom companies usually false claims that such megadeals create "amazing new synergies." In reality, they generally involve head fakes and layoffs, yet for every 1,000 stories hyping the claimed benefits of such deals, there's only a handful that follow up to see if those promises actually materialized. When it comes to AT&T, nearly everything the company promised would happen in 2019 failed to happen. And while the employees and customers paid the price, its CEO was, once again, handsomely rewarded.

Filed Under: broadband, competition, jobs, layoffs, randall stephenson
Companies: at&t

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2020 @ 9:25am

    "AT&T's employees have been asked to share the brunt of Stephenson's missteps, while Stephenson himself saw his pay increase dramatically."

    Privatized profits and socialized losses, we are seeing the successful merging of capitalism and socialism into one incoherent steaming pile.

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