Silicon Valley CEO pay is typically all over the map—with some CEOs, rich in stock, taking a token $1 in salary, and others (even those with large stock holdings), raking in astronomical paychecks. And some salaries are simply head-scratchers. Here are a few highlight’s from the latest “What the Boss Makes” survey, a study conducted annually by Equilar for the Bay Area News Group. A searchable database of the study results is here. (Note: annual compensation includes, in most cases, a mix of salary and stock awards.)
Still way at the top is Oracle’s Larry Ellison, at more than US $78 million, down 18 percent from last year. That’s a weird one though—his salary and stock grants totalled up to a grand $1, his pay is largely based on performance bonuses. But we all know that Larry Ellison is the king of the paycheck.
More interesting is number two, Zynga’s Don Mattrick, at just under $58 million. Mattrick moved over from Microsoft in 2013 to turn the once high-flying company around or, in corporate speak “guide the company into its next chapter of growth”. That turnaround? Not happening, at least not yet.
Marissa Mayer at Yahoo ($25 million) came in ahead of Cisco’s John Chambers ($21 million), even though it was a good year for Chambers; his pay was up 80 percent from the previous year. Intel’s Brian Krzanich’s paycheck totalled about $9.5 million, putting him in a crowded $5 to $10 million group that also included Electronic Arts’ John S. Riccitiello, SunPower’s Thomas H. Werner, and AMD’s Rory P. Read, and a number of other semiconductor industry executives. Of course, the executives who really get bragging rights are those who are forgoing pay altogether (or close to it); like Larry Page ($1), Ubiquiti Networks’ Robert Pera ($0) or Tesla’s Elon Musk ($70,000—or almost exactly the price of a 2014 Tesla Model S.)
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.