Where the Money’s At: Telus has some of the highest-paid executives of any company in BC

Cha-ching. Such is the sound that must ring through Telus executives’ ears as they swim in pools of cash and sip from golden goblets.

In BC, there seems to be two ways to make serious money as an excutive: work in a mining company or work for Telus.

While the overwhelming majority of people in Business in Vancouver’s 2011 list of highest-paid execs work in the precious metals industry, technology manages to make a presence—though almost entirely through Burnaby-based telecommunications behemoth, Telus. 

Darren Entwhistle, the president of CEO of Telus, made just under $10 million in 2010, up from an already staggering $6.8 million in 2009. His salary is over $1 million and his pension value sits at well over $800,000. In both of the past two years, he’s earned a bonus of more than $300,000, while his remaining millions in compensation come from shares-based awards.

Darren’s total compensation placed him as the 5th highest-paid executive in BC—across all industries and companies—according to the list compiled by BIV. The only people earning more than the Telus CEO are chief executives of precious metals giants like Ivanhoe Mines and Goldcorp, and they’re not ahead by much.

But Darren isn’t the only high-flying Telus executive on BIV’s list, not by any means. In 31st place is Joe Natale, an executive vice-president who was paid $4.4 million in 2010, up from $2.1 million in 2009. And then there’s Eros Spadotto, another executive VP, who was paid $3.2 million last year. His compensation also jumped dramatically from the year before where it was $2.2 million.

Still, the list goes on. We can’t forget about Kevin Salvadori. This Telus exec was paid $2.8 million in 2010, up from $1.6 million the year before. And we also have Robert McFarlane, CFO of Telus, who was paid $2.1 million. Once again, his compensation rose, up from $1.7 in 2009.

Not only are these executives incredibly overpaid, but the substantial jumps in their salary are alarming. Are their customer service employees seeing raises that big? The exec bonuses alone are several times the total gross income of the overwhelming majority of their front-end employees, and the compensation gap is clearly expanding.

Something tells me Darren and his friends don’t really mind it that way.