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Ballmer Among Most Underpaid Executives

Microsoft CEO “Screamin” Steve Ballmer is one of the most underpaid chiefs in the industry, receiving a pay package of $1.3 million last fiscal year. Ballmer received a salary of $620,000 and a bonus of $650,000, plus $6,750 for his 401K and $3000 for life insurance and his gym membership. Of course, Ballmer owns 4.3% of all Microsoft shares, and with MS stock rising over 30% on the year, he made about $3 billion off the company’s success anyway.

Microsoft’s compensation committee believes Ballmer is underpaid, especially considering the success Microsoft enjoyed last year and Ballmer’s growing role as Gates retires. Gates reportedly received less than Ballmer and four others at the company. Ironically, because of the performance of Ballmer’s stock, he didn’t need to be paid much, but if the company did worse, they might have to pay him more to make up for it.

At the annual meeting scheduled for Nov. 13, Microsoft shareholders will have the opportunity to vote on two shareholder proposals, also disclosed in Friday’s filing.

One, brought by the New York City’s comptroller, William Thompson, asked Microsoft to change its business practices in countries he described as “authoritarian.” His proposal asks Microsoft to stop keeping data that can identify individual users who live in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other countries, and to refrain from giving equipment or training to government agencies in countries he identified as restrictive.

The other proposal asked Microsoft to establish a board committee on human rights.

Microsoft’s board recommended shareholders vote against both proposals, citing existing efforts in both areas.

October 5th, 2007 Posted by | Corporate | 2 comments



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2 Comments »

  1. “Of course, Ballmer owns 4.3% of all Microsoft shares, and with MS stock rising over 30% on the year, he made about $3 billion off the company’s success anyway.”

    After losing $3B the year previous. The stock basically rebounded from a loss.

    Comment by Bob | October 5, 2007

  2. True, but you’d expect him to get paid less in a down year and more in an up year. In down years, he might get a nice bonus but his stock goes down in value, making him very little relative money. In up years he gets a small bonus, but the stock shoots up and he can sell shares to lock in that high value. To him, he made $3 billion one year, while he probably made a few million the year before (and net, he lost $3 billion). It’s a different way of looking at it, that losses are money you never had, and only gains count, and I’ll bet that’s how Ballmer considers it. Otherwise, he hasn’t made money since MSFT peaked during the boom.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | October 23, 2007

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