When Google rang in the new year in December 2021, parent company Alphabet had a lot to celebrate. At several points in the final weeks of 2021, Google’s market cap hit a new all-time high. Alphabet’s market cap was a shade under $2 TRILLION as 2021 came to an end. Exactly one year later, December 30, 2022, Alphabet’s market cap had fallen all the way down to $1.15 trillion. Still an impressive number, but a 42% decline year-over-year. In other words, from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, roughly $850 billion in value disappeared from Google.
A few weeks later, in January 2023, Google (I’m not going to call it Alphabet again) laid off 12,000 employees.
Just as the 12,000 person layoff was being finalized, another question was being debated in the upper echelons of Google’s executive branch in late 2022:
How much money should CEO Sundar Pichai be paid?
In December 2022 the powers-that-be at Google decided to award Sundar Pichai…
The vast majority of that $226 million award is made up of stock grants. Technically three stock grants. Sundar received two $63 million stock grants that are performance-based and a single grant of $84 million non-performance-based restricted units (stock he will earn if he just puts in the time).
This is not the first time Sundar received over $200 million worth of compensation. He basically gets $200-300 million every three years. He got $200 million back in 2016 when he was first promoted to CEO. He got $280 million three years later in 2019.
Between 2015 and 2023 (including this latest grant) Sundar Pichai has received north of $1.3 billion in total compensation and potential earnings, pre-tax, from Google. That makes Sundar one of the highest-paid employees of any company in history.
Let me say that I don’t have any thing personally against Sundar Pichai, but full disclosure, as the owner of Celebrity Net Worth I have been a bit of a lightning rod when it comes to Google’s erosion of the open web at the expense of independent publishers.
You have almost certainly noticed that Google’s search results have gotten worse in recent years. Google’s search result page has gone from a few sponsored links + 10 organic results to entire pages of ads and/or entire pages of results and widgets that are owned by Google.
If you care to know more, here’s an article I wrote recently breaking down the recent search result treatment of Celebrity Net Worth.
And below is a video of Sundar Pichai at a congressional anti-trust hearing two years ago being pointedly asked “Why does Google steal content?“, a question that is based on testimony I personally gave ahead of this hearing (you can hear Congressman David Cicilline reference my name):
Anyhoo. Congrats to Sundar. Now that your comp is locked-in for a few years, could you please improve Google’s search results? Pretty please? Maybe pull back a bit on the low-quality regurgitation and scraping that Google has proliferated your search results?
Google CEO Sundar Pichai Given $226 Million Compensation Package
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