C. William Jones
August 10, 2008
I have been reading all
of the responses to your request for thoughts on executive compensation and
say on pay.
Here is my non-technical
position, and that which I think the ABTR board would agree with. We do not
want to micro manage executive compensation. However, we do feel that
shareowners should be able to register their pleasure or displeasure with
executive compensation based upon the high- profile measures of success of
The pitfall is that the
less sophisticated investor would likely put the greatest emphasis on
short-term goals and ignore the long term. That said the major shareholders
(the 290 that hold almost 50% of the shares) should dig deep enough to
understand and vote with a balanced view. This of course would probably
cause Verizon to educate those investors as to what the longer term goals
are, how they are progressing and what effect that they will have on future
results. This would be a good thing.
As for the others, if
Verizon is truly interested in receiving a "thumbs up," they will have to
communicate with all shareholders in a manner easily understood.
The metrics that are
used in the executive level incentive compensation are so complicated that
very few would take the time to study them and, even if they did, most would
not understand them. It seems to me that they are unnecessarily complicated
- possible intentionally. It behooves the company to change that attitude if
they are to win the hearts of average investors. If not, they project a
superior attitude that they know best and the shareholders should trust
That attitude might fly
if the stock price was at record high levels but we know that it needs to
nearly double to achieve that lofty goal.
This is a very difficult
time to get Verizon's attention, between acquisitions, union bargaining and
romancing various municipalities to obtain approvals to install FiOS.
Possibly, when the next annual meeting appears on their agenda the top
officers might see the wisdom of working on shareholder understanding of
C. William Jones
President & Executive
Association of BellTel