Alphabet CEO Gets Astronomical $226 Million Pay

Sundar Pichai’s compensation topped $225 million in 2022, compared to $6.3 million the previous year, said the parent company of Google, which cut thousands of jobs in January.

This is compensation that will make your head spin. 

The pay package for Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) – Get Free Report, has just been made public, and it is colossal and comes at a time when the domination of the internet giant has never been so fragile.

Google is indeed under threat from Microsoft, which has been reinvigorated by ChatGPT, the conversational chatbot that has become, since last November, the symbol of the great progress made by artificial intelligence in recent years. 

ChatGPT is able to give human-like answers to requests. The most surprising thing is that the chatbot does better than humans: ChatGPT can write a text, even a book with just a few input elements provided to it in record time. This example indicates that AI ​​is at the GPT-4 stage, which means a system that can emulate humans — basically, chatbots or robots that can perform any task that a human can, and even do it better.

Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Free Report, which has injected more than $11 billion into OpenAI, the company that developed the conversational chatbot, has decided to incorporate ChatGPT features into Bing, its search engine which has so far been left behind by Google in the internet search domain. 

Microsoft Is Coming 

According to the group, this decision brought millions of users to Bing. In addition, the software giant now offers many AI features in most of its tools and applications, which makes experts say that Microsoft is ahead of Alphabet and the other big techs in the AI ​​arms race.

Google retaliated by launching Bard, ChatGPT’s rival chatbot. Bard has been available to the public for a few weeks. The question that experts are asking is whether the group, based in Mountain View, Calif., has not fallen too far behind Microsoft.

“I’m much more optimistic in terms of both our capability to lead from day one versus having to do that catch up, which we don’t do in some cases,” Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said in February.

The Microsoft-Alphabet rivalry is the new riveting fight in tech. It is in this context that Pichai’s compensation has just been made public and it is possible that it will raise a lot of criticism, particularly because Google has been reducing costs through job cuts.

Pichai’s, 50, total compensation jumped to almost $226 million in 2022, mostly due to a triennial stock grant, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This stock award, which was given to him in 2019 and vested last year, amounts to $218.04 million, according to the filing. 

His annual base salary was $2 million as in the previous two years. His compensation also includes approximately $6 million for his personal security.

Last year, Alphabet shares fell 38.7%.

In 2021, Pichai’s full pay package was $6.3 million and $7.4 million in 2020.

The other executives of the group have also pocketed millions of dollars in compensation. 

Pichai Makes 808 Times the Median Pay

Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice president of Google’s Knowledge and Information and Philipp Schindler, chief business pofficer, each received $37 million. Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer, received $24.5 million. 

Porat in 2021 earned $14.7 million, while Raghavan and Schindler earned $28.6 million and $28.7 million, respectively.

The median employee total compensation at Alphabet was $279,802 in 2022, according to the filing. Pichai makes 808.1 times that amount.

“Given that CEO equity awards are currently made on a triennial cadence, while our broad-based employee equity awards are typically made on an annual cadence, the pay ratio can fluctuate significantly across years,” Alphabet argued. “For example, our 2020 pay ratio was 27:1; our 2021 pay ratio was 21:1; and our 2022 pay ratio is 808:1.”

It is not certain that this explanation is acceptable within the company, in view of the current austerity cure. In January, Alphabet announced the elimination of 12,000 jobs, or 6% of its workforce. This month Porat told employees that the company was, for example, cutting back on employee laptops to make additional savings. 

The company will release its first quarter earnings on April 25.

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