Windstream CEO's Total Compensation Up 33 Percent

Windstream Corp. of Little Rock CEO Jeffery Gardner's 2011 total compensation rose 33 percent to $9.7 million in 2011 as the telecommunications firm integrated a multibillion-dollar acquisition.

Gardner, whose base salary remained unchanged at $991,000, received an 86 percent boost in stock awards last year. And as has been the case for all executives for the past three years, he received no bonus.

Gardner's and other executives' compensation information was filed Tuesday in the company's annual proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The full document is available here.

Other Windstream executives saw increases to base salaries but decreases in stock awards. As a result, their total compensation packages saw declines:

  • Anthony Thomas, CFO - $1.75 million, down 18 percent from 2010.
  • Brent Whittington, COO - $2.47 million, down 22 percent.
  • John Fletcher, EVP, general counsel and secretary - $1.87 million, down 24 percent.
  • Cynthia Nash, CIO - $1.06 million, down 26 percent. 

The company has scheduled its annual meeting for 11 a.m. May 9 at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock.

At the meeting, Windstream (NYSE: WIN) will elect nine directors to its board, approve the company's performance incentive compensation plan, vote on a standard resolution on executive compensation, vote on PricewaterhouseCoopers as its accountant, and consider two shareholder proposals.

One shareholder proposal would ban accelerated vesting of stock. The other would require detailed reports on corporate political spending. The company urges shareholders to vote against both.

Big Year

The May 9 meeting caps an eventful year for the telecommunications company, which has made new progress in a plan to grow its business and consumer broadband revenue and expand its cloud computing and managed services offerings.

The growth comes as changing technology and increased competition has made older parts of the company's business, including consumer voice and long-distance revenue, less lucrative.

The highlight of 2011 was Windstream's $2.3 billion purchase of Paetec Holding Corp. of Fairport, N.Y., in August. The deal expanded Windstream's presence from 29 to 46 states and the District of Columbia, and it boosted the company's nationwide, fiber route miles to 100,000 from 60,000.

The deal also gave Windstream the ability to offer data center services across the United States and improved its capability to serve multi-location business customers.

On Monday, Windstream broke ground on a 335-employee facility in Rochester, N.Y., expected to be completed next summer.