Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, is now among the highest-paid CEOs in America thanks to a significant compensation increase from the previous year. His business said last week that a $70 billion stock buyback had been approved.
As a result of the slower revenue growth, Google parent company Alphabet has been aggressively reducing expenditures, which includes the termination of 12,000 workers.
The Google staff is upset about this series of circumstances. Since Pichai’s annual salary became known, internal Google platforms have been flooded with discussions and memes criticising the CEO for raising his pay while cutting expenses elsewhere. A few employees also took issue with the share purchase, which was equal to the buyback in 2022.
Pichai received $226 million in total compensation last year, the majority of which came from a $218 million stock award that he receives every three years, according to SEC records. His most recent award, for $276.6 million, was given to him in 2019, and his overall salary was $280.6 million.
His 2022 compensation plan comprised a base salary of $2 million and roughly $6 million for personal security. Pichai earned a total of $6.3 million in 2021, which was made up of a $2 million salary and $4.3 million in additional benefits.
According to posts examined by CNBC, more than a dozen memes created by employees have taken over Google’s internal discussion forums, several of which have received hundreds of likes.
A meme with more than 1,200 likes alluded to remarks made by finance director Ruth Porat, who claimed that the business is cutting employee services over a “multi-year” period in an unusual email sent to the entire workforce last month. According to CNBC, budget restrictions affected everything from cafe purchases to employee laptops and travel costs.
“Ruth’s cost savings applied to everyone… except our hardworking VPS and CEO,” the meme said.
There were no comments from Google on the issue.
Pichai has received criticism for his recent decisions on numerous occasions. PIchai claimed “full responsibility” for the circumstances that led to the company-wide layoffs in January.
Employees questioned Pichai at an all-hands meeting about why CEOs are receiving pay cuts while he is accepting responsibility. Pichai responded by stating that senior vice presidents are forgoing their bonuses and taking “significant reductions to their bonuses.”
Another well-known meme featured the image of Lord Farquaad from the Shrek movie alongside the caption “Sundar accepting $226 million while laying off 12k Googlers, cutting perks, and destroying morale and culture.” The figure was quoted as saying, “Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.”
Lord Farquaad, the king of Duloc in the 2001 computer-animated fantasy, banishes numerous fairytale animals to the swamp.
Pichai and money have been a contentious subject since the CEO asserted in a company-wide meeting towards the end of last year that “we shouldn’t always equate fun with money.” He was addressing some benefits the business was getting rid of at the time, but he sidestepped employee inquiries concerning executive pay reductions.
Google’s decision to buy back $70 billion worth of shares, which shows the business has more than enough cash to finance operations and investments, is the source of some of the annoyance.
More than 700 people liked a recent meme that said, “$70 billion in buybacks shows we respect external shareholders more than Googlers.”
(Adapted from CNBC.com)
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