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Verizon chief McAdam got huge pay raise in 2011

The company's newly installed CEO and chairman more than tripled his compensation in 2011, thanks to a massive stock award.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is awfully wealthy.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam is awfully wealthy.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Verizon's new chairman and CEO, Lowell McAdam, more than tripled his compensation last year, a new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing has revealed.

According to Verizon's proxy statement, McAdam was given $1.4 million in salary last year, and earned stock awards of nearly $18.8 million. His pension value went up about $127,000, and his non-equity incentives hit $2.4 million. All told, McAdam made $23.1 million last year.

McAdam became Verizon's CEO and chairman on August 1, taking over for Ivan Seidenberg. On December 31, Seidenberg retired entirely from Verizon, leaving McAdam to also assume the role of chairman. Prior to that, McAdam was Verizon's chief operating officer, and in 2010, made a total of $7.2 million in compensation.

Executive compensation is, by its nature, an imperfect science that leaves much room for interpretation. However, in its proxy statement, Verizon made it clear that it has tried to make its compensation packages as objective as possible, focusing on competitive salaries across the industry, company performance, and how well the firm has achieved its strategic initiatives.

From a market perspective, Verizon seems to be in line with the competition. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made $22 million last year, though that figure was down a whopping $5.7 million from 2010, due to mainly to changes in pension value.

Still, executive compensation across the wireless industry is massive compared to what many other tech CEOs make. For example, last year, Microsoft revealed that it paid Steve Ballmer just $682,500 in salary, and gave him the same amount in a bonus. All told, Ballmer made nearly $1.4 million last year. But don't feel too bad for Steve: he's a billionaire and one of the world's richest individuals.