SAN FRANCISCO — The trio of billionaires who run — and own much of — online search engine leader Google Inc. reduced their individual salaries to $1 last year and rejected a recent attempt to give them a raise, according to documents filed Friday.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and the company’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, dramatically lowered their salaries last spring — right around the time that the Mountain View-based company filed its plans for a much-anticipated initial public offering of stock that made their paychecks largely irrelevant.
Before the concessions, Google paid Page and Brin an annual salary of $150,000 apiece. Schmidt collected a $250,000 annually before lowering it to a buck. In the months leading up to the pay cuts, Page and Brin each collected $43,750 of their former salaries while Schmidt pocketed $81,432, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Last month, Google disclosed that Page, Brin and Schmidt weren’t paid a bonus last year except for a $1,556 holiday reward paid to all company employees.
Foregoing a regular paycheck isn’t difficult for Brin, Page and Schmidt because they own two-thirds of the company’s highly prized stock.
Slideshow: CEOs -- Hot or not? Page and Brin each own a 27.8 percent stake worth $7 billion while Schmidt’s 10.6 percent stake is worth $2.7 billion.
All three men already have reaped big windfalls by selling a small portion of their holdings since Google completed its IPO at $85 per share last August. The company’s shares declined $1.71 to close at $192.05 Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Despite the immense wealth of their leaders, Google’s board offered to raise their salaries earlier this year and make them eligible for a 2005 bonus. Page, Brin and Schmidt declined.
Schmidt apparently isn’t having trouble making ends meet. In February, he bought a corporate jet that he leases to the company for $7,000 per hour — a below-market rate, according to the company’s evaluation. Google has agreed to reimburse Schmidt up to $2.1 million this year for using his jet.
Other prominent executives have limited their salaries to $1 in the past, usually because their company was struggling or they owned a treasure trove of company stock.
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