Verizon Holds Annual Meeting; CEO Cites Solid Earnings and Operating Performance
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NEW YORK - At Verizon Communications' annual meeting today in Fort Wayne, Ind., Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg told shareholders that 2002 marked "a year of great progress for Verizon among very challenging circumstances."
Seidenberg cited solid first-quarter 2003 earnings results, announced yesterday, and said that in 2002, "by focusing on the basics, we were able to improve the competitive position in every segment of our business."
"As we did in 2002, Verizon got stronger in the first quarter of 2003," Seidenberg said. "We have built the best collection of assets in the industry. Our management team and our terrific employees have made those assets perform. The result is that we have a strong business model that keeps us moving forward."
In announcing preliminary results of shareholder voting, Verizon reported that 59 percent voted in favor of a resolution, which the company had opposed, requesting shareholder approval of executive severance agreements that provide benefits exceeding 2.99 times the sum of an executive's base salary plus bonus.
In light of the shareholder vote, Verizon's Board of Directors said it will reconsider its assessment of the proposal.
In other voting, shareholders approved the election of each of Verizon's 12 directors for one-year terms. Each director received 92 percent or more of the vote. With a 96 percent vote, shareholders also ratified the appointment of Ernst & Young as the company's independent auditor. All vote tallies are considered preliminary until certified by independent election inspectors.
Other shareholder proposals, all of which the company opposed, received the following affirmative votes: cumulative voting, 34 percent; additional director nominees, 10 percent; board composition, 23 percent; CEO compensation cap, 18 percent; indexed stock options, 21 percent; prohibition of stock options, 13 percent; and management consulting services by auditor, 20 percent.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.