Miffed Googlers meme on CEO's $226M pay award amid cost-cutting campaign

And $70B in share repurchases didn't calm matters

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai's bumper 2022 pay award and the company's plan to repurchase shares amid a ferocious cost-cutting campaign is upsetting some in the workforce.

The exec scooped up $226 million for the year, it emerged last month, with the bulk comprising $218 million in triennial stock awards – although Pichai actually made more in 2019 when he was paid a total of $281 million.

To say the timing of the pay deal – made public on April 24 – was unfortunate is perhaps something of an understatement. A day later, however, Google followed that up by confirming the board of directors had rubber-stamped a whopping $70 billion in share repurchases in April 2022.

All this follows some pretty hefty job losses at Google, with 12,000 being pushed out of the door. Google hired nearly 67,000 people from calendar Q1 of 2020 and headcount totaled nearly 187,000 by September last year.

The business "hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today," the CEO said when announcing the redundancies in January.

Unsurprisingly, some Googlers are pretty pissed off and took to internal platforms at the company to voice their dissatisfaction, according to CNBC, with upwards of a dozen memes doing the rounds.

One contrasted Pichai with Apple CEO Tim Cook as the iBiz boss agreed to take a 40 percent reduction in his 2022 total compensation at the start of this year – note that Apple hasn't made mass job cuts. Other execs also agreed to reductions, including Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, who said he'd slash his salary by 98 percent after making job cuts, as did Twilio leader Jeff Lawson.

Another was aimed at CFO Ruth Porat, who also didn't do badly last year at $15.7 million. Porat had talked of "multi-year" reductions to staff services, namely asking employees to sweat their assets for longer, and making changes to subsidized food, gym, massage and transportation support for Googlers.

"Ruth's cost savings applied to everyone… Except our hardworking SVP and CEO," said the meme, liked by 1,200 people and seen by CNBC.

A third was based on Lord Farquaad from Shrek, an antagonistic sort known for banishing folk to the swamp in the 2001 film. The meme stated: "Sundar accepting $226 million while laying off 12k Googlers, cutting perks, and destroying morale and culture."

We have asked Google to comment. ®

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