Reason: In 2013, the board granted Nelson $9.77 million in restricted stock (plus more than $1.6 million in stock options), more than double the previous year's grants and five times more RSUs than two years earlier.
"Equity grants increased in 2013 over historic norms with significant stock appreciation increasing value of historical grants," says Ferracone.
No. 5 Highest Paid: Nuance Communications Paul Ricci At $31.68 Million
Reason: "The annual options awards to founder CEO [Marc Benioff] are well above market," says Ferracone.
For instance, Salesforce.com paid him $14.5 million worth of options in 2012, $18.9 million in 2013, $27.7 million in 2014. Meanwhile, Benioff owns just over 7% of the company, more than any other individual person.
He did take a slight cut in pay for the switch, but he is overpaid by just about any standard. "As the founder CEO, he received annual option grants of $70M (grant date value)," notes Ferracone.
And Now For The Shocking List Of Lowest Paid CEOs ...
Some of the wealthiest CEOs are actually underpaid — by today's executive pay standards anyway.
They fall into “Farient’s ownership criteria" which means they have a big stake in their companies (typically because they are founders). Those stakes can be worth at least 20 times what they would be paid as a hired-gun CEO.
If they take a big salary and options on top of that (like Marc Benioff and Larry Ellison), they could be considered overpaid. If they don't, they might actually be "underpaid" comparatively speaking.
With that explanation, click on to see the list of lowest paid CEOs ...
No. 9 Lowest Paid CEO: Microsoft's Satya Nadella At $1.42 Million
Reason: Nadella is a long-time employee, so Ferracone was able to calculate how much he earned over three years. Based on that, he landed on the "underpaid list."
He likely won't stay there. As a CEO of one of the world's most important tech companies, he'll be paid well. But his huge starter kit of stock, valued at about $65 million, won't begin to vest until 2019. Another one-time stock grant worth $13.5 million vests over seven years.
Reason: The CEO is the son of the founder, Dr. Aelred Kurtenbach, who still holds a 5% stake. In 2013 Reece was paid $282,227 in salary, some stock grants ($35,000), a bonus ($82,000), and $165,900 worth of options.
The stock trades for about $12.40 with a market cap of about $544 million.
No. 4 Lowest Paid CEO: PDF Solutions' John Kibarian At $383,530
Reason: Page doesn't take a salary, stock grants or options, or bonuses. But he owns 42% of the company, a stake worth $29.5 billion. (Co-founder Sergey Brin also takes $1 salary and owns over 41%.) Google doesn't pay dividends either.
And that's why this billionaire is our No. 1 underpaid CEO.
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