Microsoft CEO Gets 66% Raise

Satya Nadella’s pay package — mostly through stock awards — came in at nearly $43 million.

When the economy is good, and your company is performing, it’s not unreasonable to ask for a raise, right?

And if you’re a CEO of a major Fortune 500 business, you might just get one. A big one. But how much is too much?

Microsoft has reported that its CEO Satya Nadella has gotten a sizable bump in his 2019 comp plan – a 66% increase, in fact. Most of it takes the form of stock awards, but when you tack it onto his base of $2.3 million, the result is a $42.9 million pay package.

Part of the 66% goes to a $1 million bump in his base salary, and Nadella defenders would also point out that the stock payout was part of a long-term, performance-based stock award.

Now, Microsoft is having a good year, that’s for certain. The company’s stock hit an all-time high in September, and its market cap reached $1.07 trillion. Additionally, it’s taken back the title of “most valuable company in the world” from Apple. Hitting its growth targets after doubling down on cloud services, the company justifies the compensation based on what it calls Nadella’s “strategic leadership.”

And while Microsoft’s pay for its employees ranked an admirable 19th among U.S.-based businesses, it did fall below that of fellow tech companies Google, Facebook and Amazon. Additionally, according to an internal survey in 2018, 39 percent indicated they were not compensated fairly.

So we know where the rank-and-file fit in terms of their pay packages, but how does Microsoft’s top exec rank amongst his peers? According to CNN Business, Apple’s Tim Cook netted a $15.7 million pay package last year, and Google’s Sundar Pachai made a mere $1.9 million – and Bloomberg reported that he began turning down stock awards after several lavish comp years drew controversy.

But the real laggard here is poor Jeff Bezos, who has netted around $80,000 for the past two decades for his work as CEO of Amazon. Somehow, I think he’ll be just fine.

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