- November 24, 2020
- Posted by: Bastion team
- Category: Markets
David McNew/Getty Images
- Top executives from tech giants Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, and Microsoft made an average of $27 million each in 2019 total reported compensation. Total compensation ranged from $1 to $280 million.
- Included in the group were CEOs, CFOs, COOs, heads of business divisions, and more. A typical pay package for the folks behind the biggest tech firms in the country included salary, bonus, cash incentives, and equity incentives.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
2020 has been a tumultuous year for Big Tech. The celebrity CEOs from Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, and Apple were in and out of courtrooms for antitrust lawsuits. Microsoft faced extreme competition in the video conferencing space as the world moved to work-from-home setups.
But, we shouldn’t feel too bad for the executives leading the biggest tech companies — they earned an average of $27 million in 2019 total reported compensation.
Business Insider analyzed compensation information from proxy statements to understand the pay structures that the biggest tech firms in the US use. The SEC requires companies to disclose specific compensation data for executives each year, which provide insight into the way firms think about pay.
The compensation was typically made up of five elements: salary, bonus, cash incentive awards, equity incentive awards, and other compensation. Let’s take a deeper look into these massive paydays.
CEO compensation at big tech firms
The CEOs of the US’s big tech firms are household names. Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos together earned $360 million in 2019, according to compensation reports from each firm’s proxy statement.
The approach to compensation differed for each executive. Besides Zuckerberg’s $1 salary, he received only an allowance of $20 million for personal and family security and for use of the company aircraft. Pichai’s salary of $650,000 is overshadowed by the equity award he received of almost $300 million. It’s worth noting that Alphabet’s executives don’t receive equity awards every year, so when awards are granted, they are large and vest (or become available for the executives to use) over the following years. A majority of the equity Pichai received in 2019 vests over 3 years. Bezos’ salary was less than $100,000, rare for a CEO.
At $1.7 million in total reported compensation, Bezos comes in as the lowest earner in 2019 amongst fellow Big Tech CEOs. But don’t shed any tears for Mr. Bezos — according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Bezos is the world’s richest person, with a net worth of $190 billion.
In the chart below, we show compensation for each CEO as it was presented in the summary compensation table in each firm’s proxy statement, split out by element. Hold your cursor over the labels at the top to highlight the different parts of the executives’ compensation, and reference the bulleted list at the end of the article for more information on each compensation element.
Besides the CEOs, other big tech executives are also paid millions
The SEC requirements around compensation data go beyond just what CEOs are paid — they require the disclosure of annual compensation for the CFO and the three otherwise highest-paid executives as well.
Below, we’ve provided a database of all the executives listed in proxy statements, and each person’s compensation data for the big five tech companies. Executives range from CFOs to COOs to heads of businesses. Co-founders are included, as well as legal officers, sub-CEOs, and those in charge of sales or retail.
The average total reported compensation for these executives in 2019 was $27 million, ranging from $1.00 for both co-founders of Alphabet, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to the current CEO of Alphabet, Pichai, who had total reported compensation of $280.6 million in 2019.
We’ve compiled this data into a searchable database below. In the table, you can click any title heading to sort (for example, you can click “Salary” to sort the table by salary from low to high, and click it again to sort from high to low). You can also search for a specific executive or company using the search bar. The table also scrolls horizontally. Navigate or scroll to the right to view all available data.
What the terms in the table mean:
- Salary: The salary an executive earns in a given year.
- Stock awards/option awards: Equity awards based on achievement within a firm’s long-term incentive plan. Long-term incentives are also considered “at-risk” pay. Stock and option awards are two different types of equity awards — stocks are direct equity awards, while options give the executive the right to buy shares at a specific price.
- Bonus/NEIP: Typically cash grants for performance in the short term. Bonuses are typically one-off awards, while anything in the column titled NEIP (nonequity incentive plan) typically means the awards are granted as part of a firm’s short-term incentive plan and granted in cash (hence the “nonequity” label). Short-term incentives are thought of as part of “at-risk” pay, meaning that the executive must hit goals or benchmarks to receive the award.
- Other compensation: This number includes any value from the compensation data related to pension plans or nonqualified deferred-compensation earnings. It also includes any payments designated as “other compensation,” which can include payment for things like personal or home security, employees’ benefits plans, country-club fees, fees related to use of company aircraft, and even relocation expenses.
- Total compensation: All amounts summed.
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