AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson’s (pictured) total compensation for 2019 reportedly increased by 10 per cent, as the executive benefitted from a spat between the operator and activist investor Elliott Management which caused a significant boost in share price.

The Wall Street Journal reported Stephenson received a package of $32 million in 2019, a 10 per cent increase, based on appreciation in the value of AT&T’s stock.

Along with Stephenson, John Stankey, head of AT&T’s WarnerMedia business, was also left better off, with his pay increasing to $22.5 million, from $16.6 million in 2018.

John Donovan, who stepped down as chief of the Communications business in October 2019, took home $27 million, although $10 million was from other pay, including a retirement bonus.

Elliott effect
AT&T share price spiked after Elliott Management, which owns a stake in the company worth $3.2 billion, criticised AT&T’s merger and acquisitions strategy, and overall management. AT&T later responded by promising not to make any headline buys for three years and detailed plans to generate up to $10 billion from non-core assets.

Elliott Management has built a reputation in the technology industry for taking significant stakes in the companies and then pushing for change, typically resulting in a boost in share price.

Already in 2020, it took aim at SoftBank while also pushing for change at Twitter.