back to article How was Google boss's 2022? He got paid $226M as stock awards kicked in

Timing is everything, and confirmation via a regulatory filing that Alphabet and Google boss Sundar Pichai’s total compensation package swelled to $226 million in 2022, comes - awkwardly - during a period of company belt-tightening. Base salary for the big boss was unchanged at $2 million, however, it was the triennial stock …

  1. ICL1900-G3

    Nobody

    And I do mean nobody, is worth that sort of money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody

      I am. Give it to me and I'll show you.

      /s

    2. spuck

      Re: Nobody

      Since guessing wrong on the future doesn't seem to be a problem.... I'll give it a go.

      Tell you what Google: I'll do the job half-price, and if you don't like the results I will resign without a struggle after 6 months.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Nobody

        I would guess right on the future but they wouldn't like it and i'd be out of a job within weeks

        Being a CEO is just about believing (or at the very least, convincingly appearing to believe) your own bullshit while telling investors what they want to hear..

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Nobody

      I'll make Google a deal. I'll do the job for his base salary, no stock options. I have zero experience running a large company, but compared to the current CEO, that's a selling point.

  2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    That's where I think we have gone wrong as a society. $226M could help a *lot* of people, but instead it's likely going to site doing nothing in some tax haven.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Oh I doubt that. Money that's 'sat doing nothing' loses value every day and no accountant or banker is going to tolerate that. Spare cash is always invested somewhere and in that way at least does some good. Even using it to buy a new Ferrari helps ensure the ongoing employment of over 4,000 apparently.

      But it's not real money anyway - it's stock awards. Even if given to employees they can't eat stock awards nor can stock awards be used directly to buy food. And if they all tried to cash them in to get some actual money the value would drop quite rapidly. That might result in even more employees losing their jobs.

      And as for it being better to give it to a government..hah.

      But yes, it's still obscene and yet more proof that there is something really wrong with modern capitalism.

  3. IglooDame

    I'd like to think that if it were me in that position, I'd at least be covering my personal security bills out of my own pocket. Admittedly that could be the paranoia talking, rather than some semi-profound embarassment at making more in a single day than most of the people that I (in my little fantasy) lead make in an entire year.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tax deductible

      personal security bills out of my own pocket

      I'm guessing you don't run a business. The security detail is presumably a cost of doing business as the CEO is high profile and likely to be at risk. Therefore the cost of the security comes out of the business costs reducing the companies tax liability. If you personally pay your security detail out of your own pocket you pay income tax first then the security costs come out of your net income.

      So both parties actually win, the company reduces their tax liability while the employee doesn't have to use their already taxed income to protect a company asset i.e the CEO.

      Doing it your way means the company pays more tax (although that's balanced against the cost of the security detail) while the employee has to pay out for a security detail after tax has been paid.

      I don't know what the higher tax rate in the in the US is, if there is a higher tax rate but that can be substantial savings for the employee.

      I suppose it's much like expenses in the UK. A company that is generous with expense payments can save the employee a considerable sum of money if you are on the road 5 days a week Vs a company that pays no subsistence expenses for a worker that travels to different sites. It's an allowable expense if you don't work at the same place every day. Saving upwards of 2k/yr in net salary. Those sandwiches and coffees add up!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair for the exposure

    These execs are paid mega buck as they are responsible for the whole organisation and will be held accountable for all its miss-doings!

    Oh, silly me, this is the USA and only the minimum wage scapegoat will face the music for the corporate issues.

    1. NeilPost

      Re: Fair for the exposure

      Perhaps he should be sacked as strategically being culpable for the over-expansion now being hacked away at and grossly extravagant spending Like the new London HQ. Google by their nature don’t need swanky capital city offices - a business park shed on the outskirts of Middlesborough, Bridgend, Dundee, Derry would do.

  5. spuck

    The reason I will never be rich

    Making that kind of money in a year, there's no way I would show up the second year.

    And it's exactly that kind of thinking that will keep me a wage slave. ;) I am either missing the piece of my brain that tells me money is so important I need to sacrifice whatever it takes to make more, or the part of my brain that tells me I have enough is over-developed.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: The reason I will never be rich

      I have a friend who used to work on Wall Street from the mid 90s until Lehman's collapse. He started out making about $250K a year and was up to over $3 million a year within a decade, and estimated his net worth at around $20 million at one point (which is impressive considering how much he spent on women and cocaine) I remember telling him once that I'd have retired once I hit $10 million or so, because you could easily pull $1000/day out of that and not touch the principal and you can live pretty well on a $1000 a day. Sure you can live better on $10K or $100K a day but not enough better that I think it would be worth working to accomplish that!

      He ended up losing almost everything between Lehman's collapse (too much of his wealth was in Lehman stock) and his wife divorcing him (downside of a former model trophy wife used to being spoiled with jewelry and designer labels I guess) and having 10+ years at Lehman was NOT good for getting Wall Street jobs in the aftermath, apparently. He ended up becoming a college professor and lives a very different life now.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: The reason I will never be rich

      I would keep coming back the next years, but I would no longer be trying to extract a bunch of cash. I'd take the money if offered, but I wouldn't be asking for any more. I'd now be doing the job as CEO to try to improve things, starting with Android hardware support. I'd be in it for the ability to improve the products, not the money. I think this means I'm even less likely to be hired as a CEO than you would be. My rallying cry of "I don't care that making people junk their devices quickly means more revenue, it's wasteful and makes us look incompetent" probably wouldn't help.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Move along, nothing to see

    Whatever you think of the payout, it was made for meeting "performance" objectives agree years ago. This is entirely up to the shareholders, who did indeed see fairly spectacular returns during that period. The shift to the kind of system was spurred partly by favourable tax treatment, but mainly as improvement over higher fixed compensation where Pichai might have routinely trousered $ 50 million a year whether the company was doing well or not.

    1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

      Re: Move along, nothing to see

      Lots of easy money injected by the fed pushed stock value up and energized the economy - but actually created nothing of value and so now mass layoffs. Right time right place for Pirchai.

  7. aerogems Silver badge
    WTF?

    If they want to cut costs at the company, why not start with the people who have the highest salaries, like those in the C-Suite? A $2m salary has got to be equal to what, 10-15 regular employees, maybe more? And hey, if this "in-office" working thing is so great, let's see the CEO and other C-Suiters work out of a cubicle like everyone else. Or they can share an office that's about the size of a prison cell with one, or maybe two, other people. No private restrooms so they have to deal with all the delightful sights and smells of a communal restroom, no secretaries/PAs to schedule their meetings, they have to fight for conference rooms like everyone else and figure out how to get from one conference room to another on the opposite side of the campus for back to back meetings, deal with all the noise of a bunch of people around you, etc.

    If they let people work remotely on a permanent basis, they could consolidate some of the real-estate and drop a couple of leases. That's probably a few million straight to the bottom line every year. Of course investors will just come to expect it every year after the first year, but that's a FY-Next problem.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      They're not doing it correctly, but there is some basis for not focusing on the most expensive people during a layoff in the same way that a household budget would work. Consider your budget. If you had to save money, you might start by looking at the most expensive things, but those are likely rather important things since you've already focused on them most. It might be easier to cut small or medium expenses that are less important to you than it would be to find a cheaper place to live and deal with the downsides of moving to that location, especially if you have lots of smaller expenses.

      In Google's case, there are only so many executives that could be fired, and that doesn't make the same kind of cut in expenses as thousands of lower-paid workers. Of course, those lower-paid workers are the ones who create the products that make revenue, but we're looking at this from a businessperson's perspective, not a logical person's. That's clear since, if we were looking at this from a point of logic, we'd see that if you have billions in profit, you are probably fine and might want to focus your attention on the long term, whatever investors might say.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Stop

      Seeing as the majority of the compensation comes from stock options and not salary, there's not a lot to be saved from your suggestion. Real estate can be considered an investment and is any case better than holding cash.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Performance review

    Haphazard flailing development of Android apps has led to losing the majority of the youth market for cellphones to Apple - that will hurt for a generation. Haphazard flailing development of consumer products - no profit and almost all lines closed. Google Cloud still losing money. Google search has not only not improved, it has even become harder to use - how does that happen when employing some of the best software engineers in the world? Finally, losing out in the hype battle to OpenAI, so their clever pet liar looks like a confident genius while yours looks a quivering under performer - even though they are both just clever liars at this point in time.

    Well, at least you laid off the employees you were not fully utilizing anyway, allowing bigger dividends for the next quarter. That's the most important thing. Here's your bonus.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Performance review

      I don't know anyone who's bought an I-Phone because of the apps and most of the young people I see don't have I-Phones.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Performance review

        AC's probably in the US where Apple's shiny overpriced bling has half the market for reasons only known to the US.

  9. Electric Panda

    The usual Bingo card for situations like this:

    -> "sUpPLy aNd DeManD" - the laziest trope of them all. The blunt tool of armchair economists everywhere

    -> "wE DoNt SeT oUr OwN PaY" - as if there's a masked cartel mob threatening your kids. Take this $100m bonus, these 250m shares and this 75% pay rise or they'll all die

    -> "mONeY dOeSnT mOtIVaTe mE" - he says while sitting next to the outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool at his $100m fourth home. Yet that's somehow less obnoxious than the multi-billionaire who "lives the simple life" sleeping in a shed and wearing old bin bags every day... but doesn't donate a bean of that vast wealth to anyone.

  10. pimppetgaeghsr

    I almost feel sorry for all those people resting and vesting in google about to have the full weight of the companies future prospects relying on them and their LLM products. They'll be ground down to the bone trying to move google away from being just an advertising company.

  11. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Anyone else notice...

    that after a large company sacks a load of people and closes down a facility or two where the work they do is performed that the stock price goes up and it's bonuses all around for the C-Level? Is it a belief that more can be done with less?

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