Oracle top execs' stock options slashed for next year

Tough sell for shareholders

Oracle’s soon-to-be-ex-CEO Larry Ellison took home slightly less money in fiscal 2014 than the previous year, after some rumblings of criticism at the sizeable nature of his big package.

The poor billionaire bagged just $67.3m in compensation, instead of the $78.4m he made in fiscal 2013, a markdown of 15.5 per cent.

Missing Wall Street expectations for three out of the four quarters of the year, combined with slowing sales and net profit, have made the massive pay packets of the past a tough sell for shareholders.

Ellison’s downgrade isn’t much, but it’s a gentle first step towards the much-reduced circumstances he will be facing next year. Oracle had already announced that he would only be getting a stock option for three million shares next year instead of the seven million share option of fiscal 2014. Now that he’s to be the chairman and CTO instead of the chief exec, Ellison’s pot has been further reduced to 2.25 million shares.

Newly minted joint chiefs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd will also see their stock options slashed, despite the shiny new gig, down to 2.75 million shares from five million. However, they will both get a special one-time bonus for their appointments to chief of 500,000 shares each.

The executives all have the option to make a little bit more if they manage to meet performance targets. Potential bonuses stand at 562,500 shares for Ellison and 687,500 each for Hurd and Catz.

This year, Hurd and Catz took home $37.7m each but based on these numbers, their new chief exec roles are not going to come with the kind of massive compensation that Ellison, the fifth-richest man in the world, was regularly seeing during his tenure.

Last year, a majority of Oracle’s shareholders said in a non-binding vote that they disapproved of the huge remuneration Ellison was enjoying. The vote couldn’t force the company to do anything about it, but the firm has clearly taken the stockholders’ views somewhat into account. Even with the reduced options though, Oracle executives are unlikely to spend much time digging through the sofa for loose change. ®

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