Telus CEO Remains Canada’s Highest Paid Telecom Chief Executive

Darren Entwistle, chief executive officer at Telus Corp., received $19.82 million CAD in total compensation during 2021, defending his position as Canada’s top-paid telecom chief executive for another year — reports The Globe and Mail.

In comparison, Entwistle made $13.29 million in 2020. According to a recently filed proxy circular, the CEO’s 2021 compensation breaks down to a $1.54 million salary, $13.11 million in share awards, and a $1.11 million cash bonus. Entwistle was paid $1.03 million as salary in 2020, a quarter of which he donated to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19.

Mr. Entwistle has served as CEO of Telus for over 20 years — the longest of any incumbent CEO at Canada’s Big Three telcos.

All of Telus’s top executives saw raised bonuses and increases in the estimated value of their pensions during 2021. Mr. Entwistle’s pension, in particular, grew by $3.92 million in the year. Telus chalked the 2021 increments up to “market-based salary increases above prior years.”

Mr. Entwistle’s key achievements in 2021 included overseeing the successful initial public offering of Telus’s business and IT services unit, Telus International, and expanding Telus’s customer base by 960,000, the company said in its proxy circular.

Mirko Bibic, CEO of rival telecom BCE Inc., saw his total compensation increase to $11.14 million in 2021 after the company scored its “corporate performance index” — an internal evaluation of several financial and strategic goals — at 105% for the year.

The CEO situation at Canada’s largest telecom, Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), was quite complicated last year.

Joe Natale, who served as chief executive at Rogers for most of 2021, was replaced by ex-CFO Tony Staffieri following a drawn-out and public power struggle with Edward Rogers, chairman of RCI’s board and chair of the Rogers Family Trust. Mr. Natale received $14.1 million in severance and $27.38 million in total compensation for 2021.

Mr. Staffieri took home $4.58 million in total compensation from RCI last year after taking the company’s helm as CEO. Rogers has said Mr. Staffieri will receive a 2022 compensation package that should exceed $10 million, with a salary of $1.4 million.

Shaw Communications Inc., Canada’s fourth-largest telecom operator, paid CEO Bradley Shaw $11.94 million in total compensation during its fiscal 2021, which ended Aug. 31. Mr. Shaw’s compensation for 2020 was almost half that, at 6.87 million.

The sharp hike in Mr. Shaw’s compensation likely has to do with the fact that the company is seeking to be acquired by Rogers under his stewardship. The merger was greenlit by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last month, but it is still awaiting approval from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada and the Competition Bureau.