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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Gave Up Pay Hike By Shunning Big Equity Awards

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Gave Up Pay Hike By Shunning Big Equity Awards

Google CEO Sundar Pichai turned down a big payday through the grant of restricted stock in 2018

Sources claimed he was satisfied with his already generous pay

Pichai makes $650K a year and is one of the lowest-paid CEOs in the US

In a world of skyhigh CEO salaries and protests over pay inequality across various tiers at mega corporation, Google’s Sundar Pichai may be an exception. The Indian-origin Google CEO has been leading the company through one of its toughest periods as critical issues surrounding privacy, sexual harassment, workplace diversity, anti-conservative stance and censorship have made life difficult for the internet giant over the past two years.

At the same time, Google has had to deal with major competition on all fronts, including its coveted ads business as well as Google Cloud. So even as Pichai has been at the helm to continue the dominance of Google’s Android, Search, Chrome and other industry-leading products, there have been more than a few controversies dogging the company.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s Salary And Stock Awards

Under Pichai’s leadership, shares of Google parent Alphabet have risen more than 50% when compared to the time before he was CEO. So clearly, Pichai would be in line to receive mega salary hikes and bonuses as is seen frequently in the corporate world, even if Google is not your average company.

Pichai, who was appointed Google CEO in 2015, hasn’t received an equity award in over two years. according to Bloomberg. Unlike many other CEOs and top executives, Pichai turned down the big payday through the grant of restricted stock in 2018. And it’s believed that this is because the IIT-Kharagpur alumnus believe he already had a generous pay package.

In 2014, before Pichai took over as CEO, he was awarded restricted stock worth about $250 Mn, according to the report, which was based on regulatory filings. In 2015, having been appointed as CEO, Pichai received a further $100 Mn in stock. And in the following year, the mild-mannered CEO got another stock grant worth almost $200 Mn. The entirety of these stock awards are set to be vested by December this year, and Pichai would be left with the $650K annual salary along with perks.

Top CEO Salaries Compared

The Alphabet board is scheduled to revisit the CEO’s pay later this year, according to the source who spoke to Bloomberg, but unless they gran Pichai a massive pay increase, the Indian-origin CEO would definitely stick out like a sore thumb among his peers in the US tech and corporate world. Here’s a look at what CEOs at some of the other major tech companies and conglomerates in the US:

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was appointed CEO of Microsoft a year before Pichai took over at Google, earns an annual salary of $25.84 Mn, as per the regulatory filings of FY 2018. This includes base pay of $1.5 Mn and $16.8 Mn in stock awards.
  • As CEO of the world’s second most valuable company, Apple’s Tim Cook made $15.68 Mn in total compensation, with $3 Mn coming in the form of salary and $12 Mn in bonus. Surprisingly, Cook has received no stock options and no stock awards.
  • Mark Zuckerberg has also been under pressure from all sides, just like Pichai. The Facebook cofounder and CEO makes $22.55 Mn a year, according to a Equilar and New York Times survey.
  • Elon Musk’s salary is the stuff of legends among tech companies. The enigmatic CEO and founder of multiple companies pulled in a salary of nearly $2.3 Bn. When you compare it to other top CEO salaries, Musk makes as much as the next 65 CEOs combined.
  • With $125 Mn in salary, Palo Alto Networks’ Nikesh Arora is third on the list of the highest paid CEOs in the US.
  • India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani has capped his annual salary from Reliance Industries at INR 15 Cr for the past 11 years.