Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s $226 Million Paycheck Sparks Controversy

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In 2022, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai earned a total of $226 million. According to Alphabet’s filing, the majority of his income came from stock holdings valued at over $218 million, $2 million in base salary, and more than $5 million for personal security. Pichai earned slightly more than $6 million in 2021 and $7.4 million in 2020.

Stock Increases Occur Every 3 Years

Pichai’s stock awards occur every three years, with a similar $281 million package in 2019. Meanwhile, Alphabet’s stock fell 39% in 2022 due to a general market and technology decline. Since January, the company’s stock has increased approximately 19.5%.

Other Alphabet executives received fair salaries.

Other senior Alphabet executives earned substantial salaries in 2022, but none were as large as Pichai’s. Philipp Schindler, the chief business officer of Google, and Prabhakar Raghavan, the senior vice president of knowledge and information at Google, earned $37 million each. In contrast, Google and Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat and chief legal officer Kent Walker earned approximately $24.5 million each.

The Controversy Regarding the Explosion of CEO Compensation

In recent years, compensation for senior executives has been a contentious issue. According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, executive compensation has increased by 1,460% since 1978, with more than 80% of compensation tied to stock ownership. Analysts at the institute wrote, “This escalation of CEO compensation and executive compensation more generally has fueled the growth of the top 1% and top 0.1% incomes, leaving fewer of the gains of economic growth for ordinary workers and widening the gap between very high earners and the bottom 90%.”

While CEO compensation remains a contentious issue, many executives are confronting heightened scrutiny. Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple, has reduced his compensation by 40% in 2023, after earning $100 million in 2022 and 2021. The shareholders voted against Cook’s compensation package after Apple’s stock price declined nearly 27% in the prior year. Despite the non-binding nature of the ballot, Cook’s compensation committee reduced his compensation package in response to shareholder feedback.

Source: ©The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images ; CNN 
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