2007 Sale Puts Five Alltel Execs Atop Pay List

by John Henry  on Monday, Jul. 28, 2008 12:00 am  

Ford, who has headed Alltel since 2002, will keep busy as CEO of the company until the Verizon deal is completed, which is expected by the end of the year. He still serves on the boards of Tyson Foods Inc. and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.

Given his obvious talent at growing a telecommunications company, don't expect him to disappear. In a speech to the Rotary Club of Little Rock last week, he said, "I plan to stay here and be a part of this community." (See Inside Business article on Page 10.)He also said that other executives and staffers were committed to continuing their careers in Little Rock, even outside of Alltel.

Ford told club members that several new business plans were possibilities and that he would examine them more closely once the Verizon deal is done.

The 2006 compensation figures for the Alltel execs - and several others - were corrected on this year's list because of federal Security & Exchange Commission reporting changes that now allow for an apples-to-apples comparison.

Wal-Mart CEO Earns Big

The slowed economy has proven to be a boon for discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest corporation. Its stock is up 36 percent this year from its 52-week low.

Lee Scott, CEO and president of Wal-Mart, who has led the list in the past and normally would be expected to again, fell to sixth place because of the Alltel deal.

Still, his $33.6 million pay package in 2007 was just short of $4 million more than he took home the year before. Scott's base salary is $1.4 million, but he also got $20.9 million in stock option awards, $8.4 million in bonus pay and another $2 million in stock options realized.

Executives of Arkansas' five Fortune 500 companies, as expected, monopolize the top 25 on the list. Those companies are Wal-Mart (No. 1), Tyson Foods Inc. (88), Murphy Oil Corp. (134), Alltel (300) and Dillard's Inc. (338).

Rounding out Arkansas-based public companies that made the Fortune 1000 list are J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., which at No. 501 just barely missed making the elite list; Windstream Corp., the Alltel spinoff (532); Arkansas Best Corp. (934); and Baldor Electric Co. (935).

Murphy Oil has greatly benefited from the high price of oil, and coming in at No. 7 is CEO Claiborne Deming with total compensation of $17.7 million, double what he made the year before. However, $8.8 million came from stock options realized. And this year, Murphy's stock has risen some 45 percent above its 52-week low. Deming's base salary was $1.1 million.

John Menzer, former vice chairman of Wal-Mart, and Michael Duke, vice chairman-international for the retail giant, were in eighth and ninth place. Menzer's package amounted to $17.1 million and Duke's $14.1 million.



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