Business / Tech

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai awarded $242 million pay package

Bloomberg, Reuters

Sundar Pichai is getting a hefty pay raise.

The new Alphabet Inc. chief executive officer will receive $240 million in stock awards over the next three years if he hits all of his performance targets, as well as a $2 million annual salary beginning in 2020, the firm said Friday in a filing.

If Alphabet shares outperform the S&P 100 Index, Pichai could receive an additional $90 million in stock grants. It is the first time the company has bestowed performance-based stock awards.

Pichai, 47, was named to the top job this month after Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down as leaders of the firm. Page’s salary as CEO last year was $1.

“In terms of grants related to CEO appointments, it’s behind Tim Cook’s grant of $376 million when he took over Apple,” said Amit Batish, marketing manager at Equilar, a firm that tracks executive compensations.

Pichai is no stranger to massive compensation. The engineer received about $200 million in stock awards in 2016, which have since vested. Last year, he turned down a grant of restricted stock because he said he felt he was already paid generously, according to a person familiar with the decision.

His total compensation for 2018 was $1.9 million, according to the most recent proxy statement from the company.

At a staff meeting this year, one Google worker asked why Pichai had been paid so much while some employees struggle to afford to live in Silicon Valley, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Tensions between workers and management have intensified lately after internal protests sparked a crackdown.

Pichai, who grew up in India, joined Google in 2004 and quickly took on responsibility for some of its most popular products, including Gmail, the Chrome browser and the Android operating system.

When Page and Brin created the Alphabet holding company in 2015, they chose Pichai to run the core money-making businesses as Google CEO. Over the years, Pichai has taken on more duties; it was he who answered questions at a congressional hearing about the political slants of his staff, the firm’s algorithms and Chinese censorship and surveillance, among other things.

On Dec. 3, Pichai replaced Page as CEO and Brin stepped down as president.

Brin and Page, both 46, each own about 6 percent of the internet-search giant and control Alphabet through special voting shares. Pichai isn’t receiving any such shares as part of his compensation package, according to the filing.