GTE grants stock options to more than 80,000 hourly and salaried employees; one of the largest single grants ever made to a general employee population

STAMFORD, Conn. -- GTE Corp. today announced a sweeping stock-option program, called Partnership Shares, that will include more than 80,000 U.S. employees previously not covered by stock-option grants. Utilizing more than 4.2 million shares of company stock, the program is one of the largest single grants ever provided to a general employee population.

The stock options were granted on Sept. 5 to all employees not currently participating in other stock-option plans. Recipients include hourly, salaried and part-time workers as well as 39,000 bargaining-unit employees, the largest number to be included in such a program in the United States. The options were granted at a market price of $38.5625 per share.

"The GTE Partnership Shares program simply recognizes the basic fact that all employees make major contributions," said Charles R. Lee, GTE chairman and chief executive officer, in a television broadcast to employees at more than 450 locations throughout the country. He added, "It's time for all employees to share in the results that they help create."

The Partnership Shares stock option program replaces the company's Employees' Stock Plan. "With the Partnership Shares program, we will see more broad-based employee ownership than we achieved through the stock purchase plan," Lee said.

Lee said GTE now has a window of opportunity to improve and expand its leadership position in the industry. "To really take advantage of our window of opportunity -- both in the short-term and over the long-term -- we all need to make the most of our ownership stake," he told employees. "If we think and act as one united team of owners, I know GTE will win, and win big, in the competitive marketplace."

With revenues of $20 billion in 1995, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. GTE is also the largest U.S.-based local telephone company, with wireline and wireless operations that form a market area covering about one-third of the country's population.