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Last Updated : May 30, 2019 05:39 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Google CEO Sundar Pichai refused huge stock awards for the past 2 years

The CEO refused a huge restricted stock grant in 2018 as he reportedly thinks he gets paid more than enough

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai has received no equity award in over two years. This despite heading the largest profit-generating tech company in the world and thus one of the highest paid corporate executives globally.

The Indian-origin CEO refused a huge restricted stock grant for an unspecified amount, in 2018 as he thinks he gets paid more than enough, sources told Bloomberg. The move may prove positive for Google as it and other tech companies have battled controversies around unequal pay.

"He may have looked at these numbers and said: 'I've had enough' — or he might just be trying to manage the optics of his pay," David Larcker, a corporate governance professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, told the wire agency.

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The company is scheduled to revise the CEO's salary later in 2019, the source added, by which point all of Pichai's previous stock awards will have vested. Not accepting these stock awards makes him unique among his peers in the US corporate industry. There has been speculation about what is next for the CEO, but neither Pichai nor the company and its directors have said anything publicly about him leaving anytime soon.

The Silicon Valley giant gives its talent handsome compensation and Pichai was one of them. He was promoted to take some of co-founder Larry Page's responsibilities in 2014 when he received restricted stock worth $250 million, it added.

In 2015, after he became CEO, he got $100 million of stock and the following year, he got another $200 million. After 2016, Pichai has been paid a $650,000 annual salary and CEO perks like the cost of personal security, it stated.

Pichai's leadership may have strictly been technical in the beginning but it became political after the company was involved in many controversies involving Google's own employees and hiring practices. In 2018, workers protested against a military contract and a censored search engine in China the company was working on. The same year, thousands of staff walked out after they discovered that senior staff members were given bonuses after being accused of sexual harassment.

Sources also said that employees have brought up Pichai's pay at staff meetings earlier this year.

Not just from within, the company is facing criticism globally. It has been involved in multiple antitrust investigations around the world for privacy and data.

Pichai also appeared before the Congress on December 11, 2018, when he was asked about the staff troubles, Chinese censorship and surveillance, and a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that went viral on Google-owned YouTube.

"Sundar is aging quickly. When you have a billion customers around the world, there's always going to be hundreds of people who disagree with your decisions. And they're loud," Matt McGowan, a former Google executive who left in 2016, said.

Pichai is seen as someone who shies away from conflict. Statistically, since he became in-charge he has revived revenue growth and helped parent company Alphabet Inc grow shares over 50 percent. However, the company missed Wall Street estimates last quarter, which annoyed investors.

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First Published on May 30, 2019 04:41 pm
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