- Recent reporting from Business Insider’s Andy Kiersz shows that Tesla CEO Elon Musk earned $0 through CEO compensation last year, but still got ‘paid’ over $2.3 billion.
- We took a look at other executives who earn less than $1 a year, though many continue to earn millions in stock awards or cash bonuses through the companies they lead.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
While many executives are criticized for their excessive pay, some CEOs have been able to skirt around the issue by choosing to forgo a lofty salary and opting instead for a paycheck of around $1 a year, or less.
Of course, this isn’t to say these executives are living off the dollar menu.
The CEOs on this list are still worth millions, if not billions — but while some merely pay lip service to the $1 salary club by taking home hefty compensation in the form of company stock awards and bonuses, others forgo adding to their wealth in this way entirely.
Recent reporting from Business Insider’s Andy Kiersz explains how complicated CEO pay has become. Kiersz reported the findings from The New York Times ranking of the highest paid CEOs, which listed Elon Musk’s extraordinary $2.3 billion pay package. Kiersz also reported that Tesla reached out to Business Insider disputing the claim, stating its chief executive earned $0.
In a Q&A on Facebook in 2015, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "I’ve made enough money. At this point, I’m just focused on making sure I do the most possible good with what I have." Zuckerberg chooses to take home a $1 salary and declines stock awards and bonuses; Fellow social media giant Jack Dorsey follows a similar rule.
Keeping reading for a look at some CEOs and other executives that belong to the $1 (or less) salary club:
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
According to Google’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Brin and Page, the company’s cofounders asked that their base salaries each be reduced to $1 per year in 2004.
Since then, Google’s compensation committee has offered them market-competitive salaries annually, which they continue to decline.
While they also forgo cash bonuses based on their individual and company performance and do not hold any stock options, Google stock units, or other contingent stock rights, Page is currently worth an estimated $34.9 billion and Brin is worth an estimated $34.3 billion.
This year, Twitter’s filing revealed that the social media company’s CEO received a salary of just $1.40. This is of little financial consequence to Dorsey, whose current estimated net worth comes in around $5.4 billion.
Previously, Dorsey received no compensation at all. The most recent filing reads: ""As a testament to his commitment to and belief in Twitter’s long-term value creation potential, our CEO, Jack Dorsey, declined all compensation and benefits for 2015, 2016 and 2017, and in 2018 he declined all compensation and benefits other than a salary of $1.40."
In April, Business Insider’s Shona Gosh reported, "The $1.40 figure may be symbolic too, given Twitter’s origin as a service for posting updates of 140 characters, now extended to 280 characters."
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
As in previous years, Oracle reported to the SEC that Ellison, now executive chairman and CTO, took home a salary of $1 in 2018. According to the most recent filing, Ellison has upheld this tradition since 2011.
Meanwhile, co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd each took home a $950,000 salary last year in addition to other compensation. Their salary has not increased since they took over in September 2014.
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