What Sundar Pichai And Other Tech CEOs Take Home

by Sohini Bagchi    May 01, 2017

India-born Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, got a compensation of around $200 million last year, twice the amount he received in 2015. The compensation was granted to Pichai as an appreciation of a number of successful ventures under his supervision. Ever since, Pichai became the CEO of Google, the tech titan started gaining more control over two key areas - artificial intelligence and cloud. Under him, Google showed a 17.8 percent jump in its core ads business last year, while also boosting its revenue in cloud and hardware, a long-term goal of the company.

Pichai’s 2016 compensation consisted mainly of 273,328 Class C shares that vest quarterly through 2019 if he remains on the job, said Bloomberg. “In 2015, he got about $100 million in reported compensation after he was promoted to senior vice president of products and took over many of Page’s responsibilities overseeing areas such as search and ad products. That made him one of the highest-paid US tech executives that year,” as per the Bloomberg Pay Index.

CXOtoday brings to you a compilation of some of the highest-paid CEOs in technology industry.


- Mark Hurd, Oracle and Safra Catz, Oracle 

Larry Ellison often topped the charts of the highest paid tech CEOs. Now his successors – who made $53 million last year – share the distinction of the highest paid tech CEO. Hurd is the former Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Hewlett-Packard. As Oracle’s co-CEO, he received a 41% raise in 2015, driving the value of his pay package to $53.2 million. Nearly all of Hurd’s compensation came in the form of stock and option awards valued at $52.3 million.

Safra Catz was the highest-paid female CEO with $40.9 million in 2016, down from $53.2 million in 2015. Catz, an Israeli-born American, who joined Oracle Corporation in 1999, is credited for having driven Oracle’s efforts to acquire software rival PeopleSoft in a $10.3 billion takeover in 2005. Like her co-CEO, Catz received a $53.2 million pay package – up 41% from $37.7 million in the previous year – that consists nearly entirely of stock and option awards (with the exception of a $950,000 salary and miscellaneous perks.)

- Marissa Mayer, Yahoo 

Marissa Mayer  took on the challenging job of turning Yahoo around in 2012 after she stepped down from Google. Mayer crossed several bumpy roads, and she gradually tried making a number of moves to transform the company in its own pace. Despite early indications of a turnaround at Yahoo, Mayer’s elevation opened up her personality and management style to increased scrutiny. Meanwhile Yahoo failed to recreate the magic it once was and was also sold to Verizon for less than $5 billion in 2016. But these limitations haven’t stopped Mayer to become one of the top grossing CEOs of 2016 in terms of her asset. 

Despite a $6 million pay cut this year, Mayer still managed to rank among the highest paid tech CEOs in the U.S. The top exec at Yahoo received a pay package valued at $36 million in 2015, down 15% from $42 million a year earlier. The bulk of her package is tied to stock and option awards.

- Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce [$33.4 million]

Not only is Marc Benioff a billionaire and a powerhouse, he is one of the most beloved CEOs of all times. Benioff co-founded the cloud software firm Salesforce.com, Inc. in 1999 and has served as the chairman of the board since inception and as the company’s CEO since 2001. Benioff’s $33.4 million pay package was down 16% from last year. In November, the company delivered a strong Q3 2017, after showing some signs of weakness in Q2. What’s more, revenue continued to trend up. CEO Marc Benioff predicted the company would reach its $10 billion run rate goal some time in 2018, and went on to forecast the company would reach $20 billion “faster than any other enterprise software company,” as told to TechCrunch.

Virginia Rometty, IBM [$19.3 million]

Rometty, who began her career at IBM in 1981, has been the CEO of big blue since 2012. After being with the tech giant for over three decades in various senior positions, IBM CEO Virginia M. Rometty took the helm on Jan 2012, as the 100-year-old company’s first female CEO, replacing longtime Chief Samuel Palmisano, who remains as the company’s chairman. A $4.5 million performance-based bonus helped push Rometty’s 2015 pay package to $19.8 million.

- Shantanu Narayen, Adobe systems [$18.4 million]

Narayen is among the world’s top paid tech CEOs.  The India-born CEO is known for his leadership skills, technology insight and operational expertise. Narayen, who started his career at Apple, later moved to Silicon Graphics, then co-founded Pictra Inc, a company that introduced the concept of digital photo sharing over the Internet. Narayen’s pay package grew 3% last year, climbing to $18.4 million.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft [$18.3 million]

When Satya Nadella proved everyone wrong by bagging the world’s most coveted job, he admitted that heading Microsoft was ‘beyond his dreams’. The India-born Microsoft CEO with his humble yet smart approach made it to the top, not only in terms of making Microsoft relevant and interesting again, but also by securing a compensation of over $84 million in 2014. Last year it declined 78% to $18.3 million. Thirty percent of his 2015 pay came in the form of cash, including his $1.2 million salary and $4.3 million bonus.One of the most influential technology wizards, Nadella quickly became known within the company as a leader who could span a breadth of technologies and businesses to transform some of Microsoft’s biggest product offerings.

Meg Whitman, HP [$17.1 million]

A seasoned executive educated at both Princeton and Harvard, Whitman’s long career has seen her serve in various roles at Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Proctor & Gamble, and Hasbro. Formerly the CEO of eBay, Whitman has been the CEO of HP in 2011.

“HP is in a stronger position today than we’ve been in quite some time. The progress we’re making is reflected in growth across several parts of our portfolio, the growing strength of our balance sheet, and the strong support we’re receiving from customers and channel partners.” At a time when many of its competitors are confronting new challenges, she believes the comeback in its new avatar will set the stage up for an exciting future. Whitman’s pay package was valued at $17.1 million, a decline of 13% compared to $19.6 million in 2013.

- Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat [16.7 million]

Whitehurst’s $16.7 million pay package is more than double the $6.7 million he received in 2014. An $8.8 million swing in the value of stock awards accounted for the difference. Whitehurst became a very popular figure during the campaign to Keep Delta My Delta because of his transparent honesty and genuine affection for the company and its heritage. Some speculated that his fierce defense of Delta worked against him as Delta’s Board sought a successor to CEO Grinstein in 2007. Before his appointment as COO of Delta, Whitehurst served as Senior Vice President and Chief Network and Planning Officer for the company.

- Ursula M. Burns, Xerox [$10.6 million]

The first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Burns has been the CEO of Xerox since 2009. A Xerox veteran, Burns’ career with the document technology company stretches all the way back to 1980 when she spent a few months working there as a summer intern in the mechanical engineering department. As Chairman and CEO at Xerox Corp, Burns made $10,613,090 in total compensation. Of this total $1,100,000 was received as a salary, $1,166,453 was received as a bonus, $0 was received in stock options, $8,000,004 was awarded as stock and $346,633 came from other types of compensation.

- Tim Cook, Apple [$10 million]

Tim Cook, the seventh CEO of Apple Inc. got a salary of around $8 million last year. In March 1998, he joined Apple as senior vice president and then played the roles of Executive Vice President of worldwide sales and operations. The Apple CEO compensation for the year took a hit, according to a recent regulatory filing, after the iPhone maker missed its revenue and profit goals for the year.

Although Cook’s annual salary went up by $1 million, he received $8.75 million in total compensation for the year, according to an SEC filing posted on Friday. That was down from the $10.28 million he received in 2015. Company executives received about 89.5 percent of their targeted annual incentives.

- Jack Dorsey, Twitter

Jack Dorsey, the new CEO of Twitter does not take any salary from the company but, he receives personal and residential security costs from the company. He became the CEO of the company in 2015, replacing Dick Costolo. Dorsey’s 2016 total compensation, which excluded salary, bonus and stock and option awards, was $56,551 in 2016, compared with $68,506 in 2015, according to the filing.

- Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn

The professional social media site’s CEO received a salary of around $966,538 from the company last year. Weiner joined Yahoo in 2001 and served in various leadership roles for seven years, and also became the Executive Vice President at Yahoo’s Network Division. He joined LinkedIn in 2008 as interim President. In 2014, he was named as among the top 10 CEOs of US tech companies, according to Glassdoor’s annual survey

- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook 

Zuckerberg is the fifth richest person in the world. He voluntarily takes a salary of around $1 per year. He launched Facebook (initially called Facemash) on February 4, 2004 from Harvard University along with his friends Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. By 2012, Facebook reached the mark of one million users. In 2013, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he is giving up his salary and will only be drawing $1 per year in the capacity of Facebook’s CEO. However, Zuckerberg owns 426.3 million shares of Facebook stock, which are currently valued at $25.68 billion, according to Yahoo.

- Elon Musk, Tesla

Elon Musk’s salary at Telsa is around $40,000, making him one of the lowest-paid CEOs. Musk is the 80th wealthiest person in the world, as of March 2017. He was also listed as one of the 21 most powerful people in the world, according to Forbes. He is also planning to launch a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop and VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion, known as the Musk electric jet.

Chief-executive salaries are back on the rise, according to the latest data from Equilar, which provides data on executive pay, corporate governance, board recruiting and other public company information.

Total compensation for CEOs included in the annual Equilar 100 rose a median of 6% for fiscal 2016, with median pay reaching $15.0 million. Average pay was $16.6 million, up from $15.5 million last year.