Usually an executive is rewarded when his company has had a good year. Despite losing more customers with a higher churn rate than his competition, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse received a $2.6 million dollar bonus for 2008 as part of an compensation package valued at $15.5 million dollars. And it was certainly not a great year for his firm as 4.6 million customers jumped ship and the carrier had losses totaling $2.8 billion dollars. Despite a strong focus on adding new accounts at the Nextel side of the company, the business oriented push-to-talk division lost 5 million customers. All of this information came from Sprint's annual proxy filing which also revealed that the CEO would receive a package worth $10.1 million dollars if he were to be dismissed, and if a change in control were to occur, Hesse would be due $10.7 million dollars. Sprint has a lot riding on the release of the Palm Pre as earlier reports
said that the carrier will have the exclusive rights to sell the smartphone in the U.S. for the rest of the year. With the buzz that the Pre has created since being introduced at the CES
, having an exclusive for even that short time period could bring in a strong inflow of needed cash to the carrier's coffers. Sprint's problems can't be placed totally on Hesse. He became CEO in 2007 when the company was already struggling with competition from AT&T and Verizon. On the personal side, the CEO has raised his profile greatly by starring in a series of television commercials for Sprint. Hesse recently said that he will stop appearing in the ads.