Google leaders stick with $1 salary
According to the search engine's latest proxy filing, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin each turned down a raise.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Google's co-founders and chief executive officer were offered a raise this year by the company's compensation committee, but the three turned it down and are sticking with their current annual salary of $1.
The search engine company made the disclosure in its proxy statement, which was filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin first requested that their salary be cut to $1 in the second quarter of 2004, just before the company's initial public offering. Prior to that, Schmidt was making $250,000 a year while Page and Brin each earned a salary of $150,000.
In Friday's filing, Google (Research) said that "due to our continued strong performance, the leadership by Eric, Sergey and Larry throughout the year, and below-market cash compensation levels, the Committee determined that an increase in cash compensation opportunities was merited, and we offered Eric, Sergey and Larry an increase in salary and bonus for 2006."
The company added that Schmidt, Page and Brin turned the offer down because "their primary compensation continues to come from returns on their ownership stakes in Google. As significant stockholders, their personal wealth is tied directly to sustained stock price appreciation and performance, which provides direct alignment with stockholder interests."
According to the filing, Schmidt owns about 12.45 million shares of Google, which are worth about $4.86 billion based on the company's most recent stock price. Brin owns about 31.6 million Google shares and Page owns a little more than 32 million shares. So their stakes are each worth more than $12 billion based on current stock prices.
Google has suffered from some embarrassing communications missteps lately, which have caused the stock to tumble from its all-time highs set earlier this year. But shares have bounced back in the past week on the news that the search engine firm will be added to the benchmark S&P 500 index at the close of trading on March 31. In addition, optimism is growing that Google will report strong first quarter results in mid-April thanks to continued strength in the online advertising market.
Shares of Google closed slightly higher on Friday.
For a look at why Wall Street thinks Google's addition to the S&P 500 is a good thing, click here.
For five ways Google can get better, click here.
For more about Google's communication breakdowns, click here.