Google's Sundar Pichai becomes highest-paid CEO in US

Sundar Pichai 2

The boss of Google, Sundar Pichai, has been awarded $199m (£138m) worth of shares, making him the highest paid chief executive in the US.

Pichai, who became Google’s CEO in October following its reorganisation into holding company Alphabet, was handed 273,328 shares, according to a company filing, worth $199m when they were awarded.

The new shares takes the value of Pichai’s Alphabet holdings to roughly $650m – or 14,440 times the $45,000 median net worth of US citizens as calculated by Credit Suisse.

But it is still far short of the fortunes made by Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who are worth $34.6bn and $33.9bn according to Forbes. It is also a lot less than Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt, who holds shares worth $3bn.

Pichai’s award is worth more than the £130m ($187m) Google has grudgingly agreed to pay the UK government in back taxes since 2005. Critics of the controversial tax deal have calculated that Google generated sales of £24bn ($34.6bn) in the UK between 2005 and 2014 on which it has reported profit margins of between 25% and 30%, which works out an estimated profit of about £7.2bn ($10.4bn). As it already agreed to pay about £70m ($101m) in addition to the £130m ($187m) settlement, Google’s effective tax rate is between 2% and 3%, compared to the UK’s 20% headline corporation tax rate.

Pincai celebrated his award, which will vest in quarterly increments until 2019, by watching the Super Bowl and meeting NFL legend Ronnie Lott.

Pichai, 43, was not the only Google executive given a big payday. Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief financial officer, was handed shares worth about $38m. That is on top of the $30m signing bonus she was given to lure her away from Morgan Stanley last year.

Diane Greene, who has been head of Google’s cloud computing business since November, was awarded shares worth $42.8m. This was on top of $148m worth she was granted last year following Google’s takeover of Bebop Technologies, a tech company she founded.

Powered by article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for The Guardian on Monday 8th February 2016 21.05 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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