Earnings growth of 7.9 percent at US WEST last year was among the best of the regional Bell companies, US WEST officers said at the company's seventh annual meeting.

Howard Doerr, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the company's compound annual net income growth rate since divestiture was 14 percent higher than the average of the other regional companies.Earnings per share growth during the same period was 35 percent, he said.

President Dick McCormick said net income at the end of first-quarter 1991 was up 5.1 percent from the comparable period of 1990, representing the best earnings growth rate of the seven regional companies.

The growth resulted from numerous factors, he said, including cost-cutting measures and attempts the past few years to better meet customer needs by organizing around markets.

"This improved focus on our customers' needs is paying off," McCormick said at the Friday meeting.

New products and services were part of the payoff, with new-product revenues in 1990 nearly double the 1989 figure.

Shareholders on Friday approved a proposal by the US WEST board to increase the authorized number of shares of common stock to 2 billion from 500 million.

They defeated a shareholder's proposal that would have required all directors to be elected annually. The company now elects directors in three groups, with each group selected to serve a three-year term. The elections are staggered.

Three directors were elected: Glen Ryland, president of RYCO Inc.; Willis Strauss, retired board chairman of Internorth; and Daniel Yankelovich, founder and chairman of the Daniel Yankelovich Group.

Jack MacAllister, former chief executive officer and US WEST chairman, also was elected to a one-year term.

US WEST owns US WEST Communications and other companies involved in communications, data solutions, marketing services and financial services.