AT&T Gives John Stankey an 18% Raise to $24.8 Million

(Image credit: AT&T)

AT&T CEO John Stankey enjoyed total compensation of just over $24.8 million in 2021, an 18% increase over his 2020 cumulative paycheck, according to an AT&T proxy statement filing made to the SEC Tuesday. 

Stankey had a base salary of $2.4 million and earned an additional $6.88 million through non-equity incentive plan compensation. Stock compensation tallied $13.42 million, while benefits described only as "other" totaled $643,669.

AT&T stock is down more than 20% from when Stankey took over from Randall Stephens 19 months ago. And both media company acquisitions overseen by Stankey in the run-up to his ascendency to CEO, the $49 billion purchase of DirecTV and the $85 billion Time Warner Inc. buy, have been spun off under valuations far below their acquisition price

As salaries go for top technology, media and telecom executives, Stankey's is hardly conspicuous. David Zaslav, who will lead spin-off Warner Bros. Discovery, took home $246.6 million in 2021, for example. 

But still ... 18% for this guy?

How does the AT&T board committee responsible for determining executive salaries arrive to the conclusion that Stankey should actually make more money ... and not pound the hot, dry Southwestern sand?

"The Committee designs the executive compensation program to include at-risk pay. It uses a mix of incentive awards and stock-based compensation to tie the interests of our executives to those of our stockholders," the proxy statement reads. 

"The Committee believes that compensation decisions are multi-dimensional and require consideration of additional factors, including market competition for the position and the executive’s:

> experience, performance, and contributions;
> long-term potential; and
> leadership." ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!