The Association of U S West Retirees



Windfall for Qwest top execs


By Andy Vuong
The Denver Post

July 18, 2010


Seven top executives at Qwest stand to reap more than $110 million in cash and stock from the Denver-based company's proposed merger with CenturyLink, according to a new regulatory filing.

The executives' employment agreements call for cash severance payments and the acceleration of stock awards in the event of a merger.

Qwest chief executive Ed Mueller is slated to receive the biggest windfall nearly $43 million. That includes $10.8 million in cash and an estimated $32 million in stock.

CenturyLink announced plans in April to acquire Qwest for $22 billion in stock and assumed debt. The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have granted the deal antitrust approval, said Qwest spokesman Nick Sweers. It still requires approval from the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators. Qwest shareholders are slated to vote on the merger Aug. 24.

Qwest also disclosed Friday that it has reached agreements to settle 16 shareholder lawsuits filed in three different courts. Terms weren't disclosed. In general, the lawsuits allege that the merger doesn't adequately compensate Qwest investors. The settlements require court approval.

Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209, or