Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai got an early Christmas present Dec. 21 when the company announced a hefty pay raise for the 47-year-old Indian American chief executive of the Mountain View, California-based firm.
A report in Bloomberg and other media quoting an SEC filing said Pichai will receive $240 million in stock awards over the next three years if he hits all of his performance targets, as well as a $2 million annual salary – up from $1.9M in 2018 – beginning in 2020.
The jaw-dropping compensation comes after Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down as heads of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and handed over reins to Pichai earlier this month.
Pichai could receive an additional $90 million in stock grants if Alphabet’s shares outperform the S&P 100 Index, according to Bloomberg. It’s the first time the company has bestowed performance-based stock awards.
The package was approved to recognize Pichai’s expanded role at Alphabet, which will presumably include dealing with the many issues the tech company is facing.
Pichai is no stranger to massive compensation. The engineer, Bloomberg said, received about $200 million in stock awards in 2016, which have since vested. Last year, he turned down a grant of restricted stock because he said he felt he was already paid generously, a person familiar with the decision told Bloomberg.
It said at a staff meeting this year, one Google worker asked why Pichai had been paid so much while some employees struggle to afford to live in Silicon Valley. Tensions between workers and management have intensified lately after internal protests sparked a crackdown.
Pichai, who grew up in India, has degrees from Stanford University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Google in 2004 after a stint at McKinsey & Co. and quickly took on responsibility for some of its most popular products, including Gmail, the Chrome browser and the Android operating system.
According to a New York Post report, Google, which just paid $360 million to the Australian tax authority, is being scrutinized internationally for its tax practices, and France just fined Google $166 million for “random” advertising enforcement. Domestically, the company is under fire for its labor practices.
The Post report said four recently former employees are planning to file unfair labor practice charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board and dozens of employees claim they were retaliated against for reporting harassment.
A Forbes report said, windfall aside, Pichai has a difficult year ahead of him. While Alphabet is still pumping out strong revenues, its most recent earnings report revealed a rare decline in profits as it invested heavily to find its next big business after digital advertising.
Alphabet, the holding company that also includes self-driving car company Waymo, internet-balloon startup Loon and health firm Verily, among others, still makes nearly all of its money from Google’s businesses, which include YouTube and its Cloud unit.