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Sprint Nextel CEO "most overpaid" in Corporate America

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An investor advisory firm, Glass Lewis & Company has reported that Sprint Nextel directors are the most "overpaid" in the USA with total remuneration of USD74 million last year. Based on a study of Standard & Poor's 500 index of large companies, the company was reported as having the worst pay for performance rating for 2007. The firm reported losses of USD29 billion as it wrote down the value of the Nextel network.

Glass Lewis is a firm which makes recommendations to investors on how to vote in proxy ballots. Compensation packages for the most highly paid U.S. executives "have been so over-the-top that they have skewed the standards for what's reasonable," Glass Lewis said in the report.

Sprint spokesman James Fisher called the report "highly misleading," adding that "the bottom line is, 2007 was a highly unusual year both from compensation and loss from continuing operations,"

Gary Forsee earned around USD22.4 million before being ousted as CEO in October last year. Unvested options and restricted stock units will be canceled after Dec. 31, 2009.

He was replaced in December with Dan Hesse, who will earn around US$ 28.3 million, of which USD25.6 million was in stock options. Sprint Nextel pointed out though that the options were long term vested shares and shouldn't be counted as a single year salary. The remainder of the amount went to the rest of the board of directors.

Other firms on the overpaid rankings included General Motors and Ford Motor firm as well as the CBS entertainment group.

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