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Highs and lows of CEO pay

Ann Bednarz | July 18, 2014
A roundup of the tech industry's biggest earners, over-the-top perks, and most drastic pay cuts.

ceo illustrations of Mayer, Zuckerberg

This year's proxy season has come to a close, and after digging through regulatory filings, 10 highlights stand out in our analysis of 62 tech CEOs' compensation.

1. Tech CEOs don't like to fly coach. Some fringe benefits are on the outs, like tax gross ups and club memberships. But not private jets. A number of employers continue to foot the bill for CEOs' personal use of corporate aircraft. One frequent flier is Motorola Solutions' Greg Brown, who logged $273,734 in personal travel last year. Other CEOs accustomed to using company jets for personal travel include: HP's Meg Whitman (to the tune of $254,162), CSC's Michael Lawrie ($237,469), CA's Mike Gregoire ($177,557), IBM's Virgina Rometty ($151,933), Verizon's Lowell McAdam ($120,304), and EMC's Joe Tucci ($106,121).

2. No longer flying at the company's expense: Randall Stephenson. Is it unreasonable to expect well-compensated executives to pay for their own personal travel? Maybe not. In 2013, Stephenson began reimbursing AT&T for his personal use of company aircraft. By comparison, he racked up $276,391 for personal aircraft usage at AT&T's expense a year prior.

(Despite relinquishing the aircraft perk, Stephenson still managed to accumulate plenty of perks last year, including $27,194 in auto benefits; $27,025 for home security; $24,000 for financial counseling, tax preparation and estate planning; $20,960 in communications expenses; $15,528 for supplemental health insurance premiums; and $2,776 for club memberships.)

3. Securing the CEO is a pricey endeavor. Another perk that's nonnegotiable for some employers is personal and residential security for the CEO. Amazon pays to keep CEO Jeff Bezos safe, and the company's security tab hit $1.6 million last year. The company justifies the security expenses in part because of Bezos' low compensation (besides the $1.6 million security perk, Bezos' only pay in 2013 was his $81,840 salary).

Other tech companies also picked up the tab for their CEOs' security: Oracle paid $1.5 million to secure Ellison's residence; paid $654,829 for costs related to Marc Benioff's personal and residential security; and Verizon paid $153,741 for McAdam's home security expenses.

Facebook spent $650,164 on chartered aircraft for CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as part of his overall security program.

4. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse received a $13.4 million cash bonus -- the largest cash award among the 62 CEO pay packages we studied. Giant cash payouts also went to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who collected a $9.2 million bonus; Motorola Solutions' CEO Greg Brown, who netted a $6.2 million bonus; and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who got a $5 million bonus. How do these top cash-bonus collectors compare to the rest of the CEOs in our analysis? The median cash bonus among 62 tech CEOs was $1.1 million.


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