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Google top trio took $1 salary - Sathish - 03-26-2009

NEW YORK: Internet search giant Google Inc's top three executives -- co-founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin and chief executive Eric Schmidt --have voluntarily taken only one dollar in salaries last year.

A latest filing by the company to the US regulator Securities and Exchange Commission stated, "Eric, Larry and Sergey have voluntarily elected to receive only nominal cash compensation. Their primary compensation continues to come from returns on their ownership stakes in Google."

Consequently, the company's top executives -- Schmidt, Page and Brin -- do not receive any salary or plan-based bonus other than one dollar per year, proxy statement filed by Google stated.

The filing added that as significant stockholders, the three executives' personal wealth is tied directly to sustained stock price appreciation and performance, which provides direct alignment with stockholder interests.

However, Schmidt has received USD 5,08,763 under the all other compensation category last year. Despite taking just one dollar in salary, Schmidt's total compensation in 2008 rose by about USD 28,203 from last year's USD 480,561.

Page and Brin did not receive any bonus this year but had taken 1,723 dollar each in bonuses last year, information available in the filing showed.

In 2004, Eric, Larry and Sergey requested that their salaries each be reduced to USD 1 per year. However, due to their strong leadership and Google's strong overall performance, Google offered each of them market-competitive salaries at the beginning of each year since 2005.

Due to their preferences not to receive salary compensation, Eric, Larry and Sergey each rejected these offers and continue to receive base salaries of USD 1, the filing added.

Page, 36, owns 29.14 million shares of the company, while Brin controls about 28.61 million shares. Schmidt is the third largest stock holder in search engine giant, having 9.4 million shares, the filing revealed.

Meanwhile, the trio does not hold any stock options at present and all of their stock holdings are fully vested and have requested not to be considered for additional equity grants in 2007 and 2009.

Earlier this month, Google had paid over USD 6 million in bonuses to five of its top executives for 2008 as its fourth quarter revenues rose amid challenging global economic conditions.

The Google executives who received the bonus payments include Robert A Eustace, who got USD 1.37 million, Omid Kordestani (USD 1.37 million), Patrick Pichette (USD 1.24 million), George Reyes (USD 6,75,000) and Jonathan Rosenberg (USD 1.63 million).