Google CEO Sundar Pichai is going to have a very big day – 353,939 restricted shares he received in 2014 as an award will vest today. Given Google parent company Alphabet’s surging stock price since the shares were awarded, they are worth around $380 million as of today, according to a Bloomberg report. This is one of the biggest single payouts to a public company executive in recent years, coming close on the heels of the news yesterday that Alphabet had one of its most profitable – but expensive – quarters ever in Q1 2018.
Sundar originally joined Google in 2004 as a semiconductor engineer, working on Google Toolbar, the tool that helps people search for information on Google directly from their toolbars in browsers other than Google Chrome. Over the years, he also played major roles in the development of Google Drive and Google Chrome, eventually catching the eye of Google Co-founder Larry Page who decided to take Sundar under his wing and mentor him. Sundar was eventually promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Products in 2014, receiving the shares shortly before that.
Restricted shares are company equity that is awarded to an executive subject to the completion of certain conditions such as continued work with the company for a designated period or the achievement of certain milestones. The executive cannot cash in the shares until the conditions are met. In Sundar’s case, it is unclear what the conditions for the restricted shares were; however, there is no denying his role in helping the value of Google – and parent company Alphabet – skyrocket. Since becoming CEO of Google in 2015, Sundar has received two more nine-figure stock grants, and the company is yet to disclose his compensation for 2017. According to Bloomberg, a Google spokeswoman declined to comment on these developments.
Sundar is the latest member of a group of high-profile top executives who have drawn hefty payouts in recent years. Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg received $2.28 billion from 60 million stock options exercised during the social media giant’s IPO in 2012. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also received $822 million from the vesting of restricted shares in the following months. In 2016, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, picked up $1.34 billion from 6.71 million stock options, and earlier this year, Snap Inc. Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel became the third-highest paid CEO in history, earning $637.8 million in total compensation for 2017.
Based on Bloomberg’s calculations, CEOs of S&P 500 companies realized an average of $16.2 million from shares that vested or exercising stock options in 2016. Sundar himself received a salary of $199.7 million in 2016 and had an estimated personal net worth of $1.2 billion in 2017, according to reports in Bloomberg and The Guardian. If Alphabet Inc.’s steady growth and stellar performance in Q1 2018 is any indication, the Google top exec can definitely look forward to more rewards in the future for his hard work building one of the world’s largest tech brands.