Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) boosted Chief Executive Dan Hesse's total 2011 compensation by 31% to $11.9 million, due largely to an increase in his stock awards and a cash bonus that ignored the expense of carrying the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone.
Hesse was awarded an $829,322 bonus and an increase in his stock awards to $3.2 million from $1.7 million in 2010, according to a preliminary proxy statement filed Monday by Sprint. Hesse's salary was unchanged at $1.2 million.
While Sprint lost 98,000 lucrative contract customers last year, rivals AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless padded their user rolls, due in part to the draw of the iPhone and the widening reach of their high-speed mobile broadband networks, known as 4G LTE. Sprint carried the popular iPhone for last year's final three months, helping to stanch customer losses.
"The Compensation Committee believed that our launch of the iPhone was an extraordinary circumstance" and was not included in the calculation for executives' short-term incentives, Sprint said of its board in the filing. Sprint committed to buying at least $15.5 billion in iPhones from Apple over the next several years, and said it wouldn't turn a profit on the device until 2015.
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