San Francisco: Shifting from Google's CEO to executive chairman proved to be lucrative career move for Eric Schmidt.
Google awarded Schmidt a compensation package valued at USD 101 million last year, according to a Friday regulatory filing. The amount is 322 times higher than the USD 313,219 package that Schmidt received in 2010 during his final full year as the Internet search leader's CEO.
Schmidt, 56, ended a decade-long stint as Google's CEO last April and turned over the job to Google co-founder Larry Page.
Shortly before the change in command, Google gave Schmidt stock and stock options valued at nearly USD 94 million, according to the company's proxy statement. Google had designed the stock and stock option package to be worth $100 million, but the compensation formula spelled out by securities regulators arrived at a slightly different calculation.
To top it off, Google raised Schmidt's salary from USD 1 annually as CEO to USD 1.25 million as executive chairman. His 2011 salary ended up being USD 937,500 because he spent the first three months of the year in the lower-paying job as CEO.
The rest of Schmidt's 2011 compensation consisted of a USD 6 million bonus and perks worth nearly USD 264,000. Schmidt deposited half of his bonus last year in a company plan that can defer payment for up to five years.
Page's compensation package totaled USD 1 last year, consisting solely of a nominal salary. He has maintained a USD 1 salary since 2005, although in some years he has accepted the Google's companywide holiday bonus. That's what happened in 2010 when Page's pay package totaled USD 1,723.
Weekly paychecks, annual bonuses and stock options haven't been essential to Schmidt or Page since Google's initial public offering of stock in August 2004. That IPO turned them, along with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, into multibillionaires who are perennials on Forbes' list of the world's richest people.
Forbes' latest rankings estimate Page, 39, and Brin, 38, are each worth nearly USD 19 billion. The magazine pegs Schmidt's wealth at nearly USD 7 billion.
Like Page, Brin limited his pay package last year to USD 1.
Since Google's IPO, Schmidt's total compensation package as CEO had never exceeded USD 560,000, based on an analysis of Google's past regulatory filings. From 2004 through 2010, Schmidt's combined compensation totaled USD 2.2 million.
In his new job as executive chairman, Schmidt serves as a company ambassador who meets with government regulators, explores potential acquisitions and makes public appearances.
In its proxy statement, Google described Schmidt's big stock and stock option package as a way to recognize his accomplishments as CEO. When Schmidt took in job in 2002, Google had annual revenue of USD 86 million and fewer than 300 employees. In Schmidt's final full year as CEO, Google had grown to a company with USD 29 billion in revenue and more than 24,000 employees.
Even after last year's big windfall, Schmidt is still raising cash. In February, he filed plans to sell up to 2.4 million shares of stock currently worth about USD 1.4 billion.