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Are Tech’s Richest Men Worth Their Salary?


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Apple paid a total of $1.4 billion to its chief executive officer, Tim Cook, since 2007. Oracle President Larry Ellison racked up nearly $1.9 billion worth of stock and cash in the same period. And Mark Zuckerberg has pulled $5.7 billion out of Facebook since the company went public in 2012.

These are among the billion-dollar men in the technology industry. Half a dozen executives have cumulative salaries above $13.2 billion, according to a new analysis from the past 15 years. Those are the years in which tech companies become powerful forces in the economy, our lives and world affairs. The mood regarding technology has turned sour lately, but tech bosses’ salaries remained mostly futile.

The New York Times published on Friday Analysis of the highest paid CEOs Among US publicly traded companies in 2020. My colleague Peter Avis pointed out that during the pandemic, executives got the richest salary packages ever.

To get a picture of what companies pay their owners over a long period, executive compensation consulting firm Equilar ranked the 10 executives with the highest cumulative total salaries, until 2006 when corporate compensation disclosures changed. was. Tech owners occupied six of those 10 positions, mainly because of the value of the stock their companies offered them.

The billion-dollar salaries of a handful of men—and yes, they’re all men—bring up a big and unanswered question: How do we know they’re worth the money?

Baseball stat geeks are aware of a remedy called wins above replacement, which attempts to measure a player’s value by estimating how much more or less a team has won with him, compared to a replacement which may be cheaper. Even in the tech industry, which is obsessed with data, there is little effort to enforce victory over the replacement stat for the corner office.

Maybe a hypothetical replacement for Alphabet would do a better job than leader Sundar Pichai, according to Equilar analysis, and for less than the $1.1 billion in stock and other compensation that Google’s parent company has paid him since 2015. . Boards of directors usually don’t try to find out. Chief executives are paid what they are paid.

Let me delve deeper into some CEO salary figures. Calculating what corporate heads are “paid” for is a complex and controversial exercise. In some cases, technical owners’ compensation is even bigger than the brain numbers initially suggested.

When Cook took over as Apple’s chief executive officer for Steve Jobs in 2011, the company pledged 28 million shares to him, after adjusting for stock splits, over the next decade. At the time, Cook topped The Times’ annual ranking of highest-paid CEOs, based largely on Potentially $376 million worth of that stock. One expert called Cook’s stock award “historic to the extent that it overestimates the number.”

But Cook would take home all the shares if he remained stuck for 10 years and if the company’s share price rose faster than other large companies. then what will happen? Cook is likely to collect all or almost all of his stock, with the final batch in August. By one calculation, those shares are now worth $3.5 billion, or about 10 times the “historic” number a decade ago.

Companies usually justify top-dollar executive paychecks by saying that bosses are irreplaceable and they only prosper when shareholders do, because they are largely paid for in stock. Cook’s wallet has been thickened by the climb of Apple’s stock since 2011, with exactly those who have bought Apple stock.

But again, it’s hard to assess how much Apple’s financial or stock performance is doing Cook’s job. Maybe you’ll cook as well as 80 percent at a fraction of the cost.

Apple does not directly disclose the $3.5 billion figure. I matched it to Apple’s annual statement to shareholders. Equilar calculated that Cook’s cumulative compensation since 2007, when he was Apple’s chief operating officer, is $1.4 billion. Equilar’s figures calculated the value of Cook’s stock each year that it was issued to them, not the current value of those shares. Like I said, there are many ways to cut and dice a CEO’s salary.

The figures may seem light years (or a few zeros) away from most people’s financial situations, but they also have a happy message for anyone feeling clueless about money.

Zuckerberg tops the Equilar ranking of long-term CEO salaries, almost entirely from stock options on 120 million shares that Facebook handed over to him shortly after the company was founded. A year after Facebook went public, Zuckerberg sold nearly a third of those shares for $2.3 billion. Had he held onto those shares instead, they would now be worth about $14 billion.

But don’t sleep worrying about Zuckerberg’s poorly timed stock sale. he is stable worth $124 billion.



  • About that discounted internet service… Emergency government funds are believed to help low-income Americans reduce their monthly Internet bills by up to $50. News site protocol found that even a small discrepancy – such as an address being entered “street” instead of “st”. – Were Blocking eligible people due to certain internet companies. (Washington Post wrote Read more about the other shenanigans in this Internet discount event last month.)

  • Break out the soldering iron! Vice News reports that New York may be poised to become the first US state to pass the law Should make it easier and cheaper to repair your electronics and other items. Some product manufacturers, including Apple and John Deere, have lobbied against these.”Right to Repair” Act This would require providing people with access to information booklets, tools and parts, and a fix-it shop, rather than relying solely on authorized repair providers.

  • How about “The Crown” Crown? To earn extra money, Netflix opened an online store for Merchandise related to the company and its shows, including “Lupin” throw pillows and Netflix-branded boxer shorts, my colleagues John Koblin and Sapna Maheshwari report.

Here’s a live video feed to watch the snorting, waddling elephant seal movement On a California beach. (it was among them entertainment recommendations From my colleague Amanda Hess.)


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