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Shareholder rage freezes Salesforce boss Marc Benioff's package

Don't sweat, Marc: $33m/yr is still enough for a Pot Noodle and a cuppa

Mark Benioff won’t be getting a pay rise this year thanks to shareholder discontent over the “excessive compensation” of Salesforce management.

The CRM-as-a-Service chief exec and co-founder will take home just $1.55m in Salesforce’s fiscal year 2017, exactly the same as last year.

Benioff’s potential cash bonus has been frozen, too – remaining at last year’s $3.10m. The decision was taken by Salesforce's compensation committee.

Also, it’s emerged Benioff’s total compensation package – that’s salary, bonus, options and other incentives – was chopped by 16 per cent last year.

The chief executive’s package was down 16 per cent to $33.362m for Salesforce’s fiscal year 2016.

The data was disclosed in Salesforce’s proxy statement released in preparation for its shareholder annual general meeting on June 2. The company said it acted following “concerns regarding quantum of total CEO pay.”

Salesforce’s current and former directors were named in a shareholder court case last year alleging “excessive compensation was paid to such directors for their service.” The case alleged breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment. As well as a “discourgment of a portion of the directors’ compensation” the suit also called for reform of Salesforce’s “obsolete equity plans.”

Shareholders had also revolted against the compensation package of Benioff and his fellow senior managers last summer. At the firm’s annual general meeting last year, 44 per cent of shareholders voted against their executives compensation package for the year.

Salesforce isn’t the first business software provider to upset its shareholders over the size of its directors' compensation.

Oracle shareholders also rebelled at the awards granted to Larry Ellison in years past, to no effect.

Ellison remains not just one of the best remunerated executives in tech, but in US business: he claimed a salary of just $1 and $0 bonus during Oracle’s fiscal year 2015 but received $31.739m in stock options, $30.352m in stock and $1.547m in other types of compensation, producing a total compensation package of $63.638m. ®

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