Alphabet Inc. awarded Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai nearly $200 million in total compensation in 2016, more than twice as much as any CEO of a publicly traded company tracked in the last two years.
In its annual proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed Friday, Alphabet
revealed that Pichai was awarded $198.7 million in Alphabet stock in 2016. That is roughly double the stock Pichai received in 2015, when he was named chief executive of Google after the company reorganized as Alphabet.
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Along with a $650,000 salary and $372,000 in recognized compensation in the form of personal security and flights, Pichai received total compensation of $199.7 million in 2016. That was nearly double his 2015 total compensation of $100.7 million.
Pichai’s total compensation tops the CEO compensation packages tracked by Equilar for the past two years. In 2015, Dara Khosrowshahi of Expedia Inc.
had the highest compensation among CEOs of publicly traded companies, at $94.6 million, according to Equilar’s annual study. Among proxy statements filed before April 1, Equilar found Thomas Rutledge of Charter Communications Inc.
was the highest-paid CEO for 2016, at more than $98 million.
Pichai, though, would not show up on Equilar’s list because he is not the CEO of a publicly traded company, but rather of the Google subsidiary within Alphabet. Alphabet CEO Larry Page is the executive who would show up in Equilar’s annual study, and Page—along with fellow Google founder and Alphabet President Sergey Brin—accepted only $1 in annual salary and no stock compensation, according to the filing.
Equilar spokesman Dan Marcec confirmed that Pichai was not included in the firm’s annual CEO-compensation study because of the quirks of Alphabet’s corporate structure. He said Pichai is “probably” the highest-paid top executive in the land.
Equilar reported earlier this month that the early returns from its annual effort showed CEO pay on the rise, with median CEO compensation up 6% to $15 million and average compensation increasing from $15.5 million to $16.6 million. It is the largest increase tracked since 2013.
Pichai received a $199 million equity award upon his promotion, Alphabet disclosed last year, and this year’s filing showed an additional $209 million biennial equity award issued in early 2016 that vests quarterly. The completion of the first award and beginning of the second appeared to lead to Pichai’s large total compensation for 2016. Other key Google execs fell between the Pichai and Page extremes: Diane Greene, who was hired to run Google’s cloud business late in 2015, received total compensation of $43.7 million in 2016, and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat received total compensation of slightly more than $39 million.
Such large compensation awards are not unheard of among executives at large tech companies, especially when they receive big stock awards upon being hired or promoted. For instance, Tim Cook was handed a $378 million stock award when he was named CEO of Apple Inc.
in 2011, making him the highest paid CEO that year. Last year, Cook’s total compensation took a hit, falling to $8.75 million from $10.28 million the year before, but he still has a massive cache of Apple shares.
Since Google reorganized as Alphabet and made Pichai CEO of the Google division, Google stock has gained 39.1%, while the S&P 500 index
has risen about 14.8% over that period. The stock hit fresh record highs Friday after Alphabet beat earnings expectations, and Alphabet is the only company besides Apple with a market capitalization of more than $600 billion.