How was Google boss's 2022? He got paid $226M as stock awards kicked in

Bumper payday for exec as relentless cost-cutting campaign continues

Timing is everything, and confirmation via a regulatory filing that Alphabet and Google boss Sundar Pichai’s total compensation package swelled to $226 million in 2022, comes - awkwardly - during a period of company belt-tightening.

Base salary for the big boss was unchanged at $2 million, however, it was the triennial stock awards of $218 million that made up the bulk of his financial package. This was approved by the Equity Awards Committee in December, before Google launched its mega cost reduction strategy public the next month.

Back in 2019 when the last three-year stock award was implemented, Pichai was awarded a total of $281 million - nice work if you can get it. Pichai’s compensation also included $5.947 million for security detail, which is considerably less than Meta fork out to keep Mark Zuckerberg safe.

Word of the bumper payout comes amid a challenging time for Google: it hired heavily during the early years of the pandemic, growing from 120,000 employees to 187,000 from early 2020 to September.

When he announced 12,000 job cuts in January, Pichai said Google had hired for a “different economic reality to the one we face today.” The layoffs were made across the company. In addition to mass redundancies, Google is also consolidating real estate, clipping expenses including travel, and doing away with some office perks, at least on certain days.

It is worth noting that Google parent Alphabet still reported net profit of $59.972 billion for calendar 2022, albeit down from $76 billion in the prior year. Revenue fell to $257.6 billion from $282.8 billion.

Executive bonuses for 2023 are likely to be cut, Pichai warned Googlers at a town hall meeting in January with sentiments in the technology markets less positive than they have been in recent years.

So how did other Google generals do in 2022? Not nearly as well as the CEO but they won’t be queuing at food banks. CFO Ruth Porat was compensated to the tune of $24.5 million; Prabhakar Raghavan, senior veep for Knowledge and Information, got $37 million, and chief business officer Philipp Schindler got $37 million too.

The median employee total compensation was $279,802, which equates to a CEO pay ratio of 808:1, which leaves Nadella and co in the metaphorical dirt, and made Pichai one of the best paid exec in corporate America last year.

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