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Alphabet's Pichai gets US$240m in performance-based stock awards

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Alphabet's newly instated chief executive officer Sundar Pichai would receive a hefty US$240 million in performance-based stock awards over the next three years, the highest ever promised to any executive of the search giant.

[BENGALURU] Alphabet's newly instated chief executive officer Sundar Pichai would receive a hefty US$240 million in performance-based stock awards over the next three years, the highest ever promised to any executive of the search giant.

Mr Pichai would also take home US$2 million in annual salary starting 2020, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. That compares with a US$1 salary received by Larry Page in the same role last year.

"In terms of grants related to CEO appointments, it's behind Tim Cook's grant of US$376 million when he took over Apple," said Amit Batish, marketing manager at Equilar, a firm that tracks executive compensations.

Google co-founders Page and Sergey Brin stepped down earlier this month as leaders of the internet behemoth they founded 21 years ago, giving Mr Pichai charge of the parent company in addition to his role as the chief of Google.

Trusted lieutenant Mr Pichai, who has spent 15 years at Google, is now the public face of a company that is facing criticism from US lawmakers as well as its employees over a number of issues ranging from privacy to monopoly.

When he took over as Google's chief in 2015, Mr Pichai drew an annual salary of US$652,500. The following year his earnings skyrocketed, thanks to a massive US$199 million in stock awards, the highest ever for any Alphabet executive back then.

Mr Pichai is widely credited for making the Google Chrome browser a success and was seen as a potential successor to Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer before Satya Nadella took over in February 2014.

According to the most recent proxy statement from the company, Mr Pichai earned nearly US$1.9 million in 2018, which mostly included the costs for his security and personal use of aircraft. His base salary that year was US$650,000.

Median CEO base salary reached US$1.2 million among the largest US companies by revenue in 2018, according to Equilar. 

REUTERS