Alphabet grants tens of millions of dollars in stock awards to top execs

Kent Walker speaks at a “Grow with Google” launch event in Cleveland.
via Google 

After delivering handsome returns for investors last year, Google’s top leaders are getting a salary boost for 2022 along with hefty stock awards.

Google parent Alphabet said in a filing with the SEC that its board approved new compensation packages for finance chief Ruth Porat, legal head Kent Walker, search boss Prabhakar Raghavan and Philipp Schindler, the company’s chief business officer.

The executives’ base salaries will increase from $650,000 to $1 million, according to the filing, which hit the SEC’s website on Tuesday and is dated Dec. 28. They each received stock awards valued at between $23 million and $35 million, split between performance-based equity and stock that vests over time.

Alphabet’s stock surged 65% in 2021, far outpacing the broader market and all the other U.S. Big Tech companies. Google’s search business rebounded rapidly from the Covid-19 slowdown and began growing at pre-pandemic levels at the start of the year, benefitting from a resurgence in advertising and travel. YouTube also saw a spike in traffic, and Google’s cloud division picked up business as companies went remote.

Raghavan and Schindler received the biggest stock award packages for 2022. The company granted each of them $12 million in performance-based stock that will vest between from 2022 to 2024, depending on how the share price performs compared to members of the S&P 100. They received an additional $23 million in restricted stock that will vest quarterly in 12 installments, subject to continued employment.

Porat and Walker each received $5 million in performance-based equity and $18 million in restricted stock.

Alphabet hasn’t disclosed how much executives were paid last year, but its C-suite enjoyed a big 2020. The company said in its latest proxy filing that Porat and Walker received $50.2 million in stock awards that year, while Raghavan received $54.6 million and $65.5 million went to Schindler.

Each of the executives will be eligible to participate in a maximum $2 million annual bonus program “based on contributions to Google’s performance against social and environmental goals for 2022,” Tuesday’s filing said.

The payout disclosures come as Google tries to manage uneasiness among rank-and-file employees over rising inflation costs. At an all-hands meeting in December that was intended to cover 2022 planning, Google executives briefly addressed employees’ compensation concerns, and said they had no plans to respond with a companywide pay increase.

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