Home World Business $267m bonanza: Google CEO Sundar Pichai sees his pay packet double

$267m bonanza: Google CEO Sundar Pichai sees his pay packet double


Alphabet can’t seem to stop heaping massive pay packages on Google’s Sundar Pichai.

The chief executive officer of the search-engine unit received $US199.7 million ($267 million) in compensation for 2016, according to a regulatory filing. That marks his third straight year getting nine-figure pay — a rare accomplishment even at well-paying technology companies and virtually unheard of in other industries.

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A record year for the world’s richest

Gina Rinehart was one of many billionaires who saw their fortunes increase dramatically in the last 12 months according to Forbes magazine.

Since he became CEO in 2015, Pichai has moved to give Google more control over two critical fields: artificial intelligence and cloud. He oversaw a 17.8 per cent jump in Google’s core ads business last year, while also boosting its revenue in cloud and hardware, a long-sought goal of the company.

Pichai’s 2016 compensation consisted mainly of 273,328 Class C shares that vest quarterly through 2019 if he remains on the job. The award was granted about six months after the tech business announced it would reorganise into holding company Alphabet. As part of the transition, Pichai was tapped to lead Google, taking the reins from Larry Page who became chief executive of the parent entity.

It wasn’t the first time following in Page’s footsteps led to big payouts for Pichai. In 2015, he got about $US100 million in reported compensation after he was promoted to senior vice president of products and took over many of Page’s responsibilities overseeing areas such as search and ad products. That made him one of the highest-paid US executives that year, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.

His biggest pay package that can be gleaned from filings came in 2014. He got 442,424 shares worth about $US250 million in August that year, shortly before his promotion. The stock will be fully vested in 2018. Since Alphabet wasn’t required to disclose his compensation at the time, filings don’t reveal why he received such a large grant. A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the award. Alphabet also didn’t disclose any salary or cash bonus paid to Pichai in 2014.

It is the third-straight year Sundar Pichai has received a nine-figure salary. It is the third-straight year Sundar Pichai has received a nine-figure salary. Photo: Michael Short

The California-based company typically grants equity awards to top bosses once every two years, a strategy it has said “encourages executives to take a long-term view of the business.”

Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat got a $US39.1 million pay package for 2016, most of it in a stock award that vests through 2019.



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