Sprint pay incentives aim to slow cancellations

Trying to contain one of its biggest problems, Sprint set performance incentives for company officers for the rest of 2008.

Mobile phone company Sprint Nextel, fighting to retain customers, is changing employee bonus plans to double the importance of stopping cancellations, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed on Tuesday. A short-term incentive plan for company officers sets performance targets for the last three quarters of the year. Churn, or cancellations, counts for 40 percent of the target, while two measures of cash flow and earnings were weighted at 20 percent each and customer care calls were weighted at 20 percent.

In a February filing for the same incentive plan, the weighting of churn was 20 percent. In addition, 30 percent of the incentive was based on a measure of operating income, the number of calls for customer care was 30 percent, and a type of subscriber additions was 20 percent. Sprint Nextel posted a $29.45 billion fourth-quarter loss in February due to a huge goodwill write-off and forecast the loss of more its customers.