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Is AT&T Inc.'s (NYSE:T) CEO Paid At A Competitive Rate?

Simply Wall St

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Randall Stephenson became the CEO of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) in 2007. This analysis aims first to contrast CEO compensation with other large companies. Next, we'll consider growth that the business demonstrates. And finally we will reflect on how common stockholders have fared in the last few years, as a secondary measure of performance. This method should give us information to assess how appropriately the company pays the CEO.

See our latest analysis for AT&T

How Does Randall Stephenson's Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?

Our data indicates that AT&T Inc. is worth US$235b, and total annual CEO compensation is US$29m. (This figure is for the year to December 2018). That's a modest increase of 1.4% on the prior year year. While this analysis focuses on total compensation, it's worth noting the salary is lower, valued at US$1.8m. When we examined a group of companies with market caps over US$8.0b, we found that their median CEO total compensation was US$11m. (We took a wide range because the CEOs of massive companies tend to be paid similar amounts - even though some are quite a bit bigger than others).

Thus we can conclude that Randall Stephenson receives more in total compensation than the median of a group of large companies in the same market as AT&T Inc.. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the pay is too high. A closer look at the performance of the underlying business will give us a better idea about whether the pay is particularly generous.

The graphic below shows how CEO compensation at AT&T has changed from year to year.

NYSE:T CEO Compensation, June 13th 2019

Is AT&T Inc. Growing?

On average over the last three years, AT&T Inc. has grown earnings per share (EPS) by 23% each year (using a line of best fit). Its revenue is up 12% over last year.

Overall this is a positive result for shareholders, showing that the company has improved in recent years. It's a real positive to see this sort of growth in a single year. That suggests a healthy and growing business. Shareholders might be interested in this free visualization of analyst forecasts.

Has AT&T Inc. Been A Good Investment?

Since shareholders would have lost about 6.6% over three years, some AT&T Inc. shareholders would surely be feeling negative emotions. So shareholders would probably think the company shouldn't be too generous with CEO compensation.

In Summary...

We examined the amount AT&T Inc. pays its CEO, and compared it to the amount paid by other large companies. As discussed above, we discovered that the company pays more than the median of that group.

However, the earnings per share growth over three years is certainly impressive. On the other hand returns to investors over the same period have probably disappointed many. Considering the per share profit growth, but keeping in mind the weak returns, we'd need more time to form a view on CEO compensation. If you think CEO compensation levels are interesting you will probably really like this free visualization of insider trading at AT&T.

Arguably, business quality is much more important than CEO compensation levels. So check out this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.