Google CEO Sundar Pichai Earned $226M Despite Tumbling Profits

In January, the company announced plans to lay off 12,000 employees and scaled back on perks like free in-office massages.

Sundar Pichai in a black suit.
Under his compensation plan, Google CEO Sundar Pichai receives a huge stock package every three years. Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Alphabet (GOOGL) and Google (GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai received $226 million in total compensation in 2022, thanks to a massive stock award, despite the tech giant preparing for the largest layoffs in its history amid tumbling advertising profits and share price.

The majority of Pichai’s 2022 pay was an equity package worth $218 million at the end of last year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on April 21. He also received a base salary of $2 million, which is inline with most Big Tech CEOs, and nearly $6 million in payments related to his personal security.

Under his compensation plan, Pichai receives an equity award every three years subject to Alphabet’s board approval. The equity package consists of both restricted stock units and performance-based stock units that are vested over the period of three years. Pichai has received three $200 million-plus stock awards since taking over as Google CEO in 2015. But in his most recent payout, the board increased the portion of performance-based stock units to 60 percent from 43 percent, according to Friday’s filing, meaning that the vesting of these equities will rely more on Pichai’s performance in the next three years.

Pichai didn’t receive any stock awards in 2021 and 2020. His total compensation in those two years came at about $6.3 million and $7.4 million, respectively. His outsized pay in 2022 blew up Google’s CEO pay ratio—calculated by the CEO’s compensation divided by that of the median employee—to 808:1 from just 27:1 in 2021. The average ratio among S&P 500 companies was 192:1 in 2021, the most recent year of available data.

Other Alphabet senior executives made much less than Pichai last year. Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s head of knowledge and information, and chief business officer Philipp Schindler each received $37 million in salary and bonuses. And CFO Ruth Porat and chief counsel Kent Walker were each paid about $24.5 million.

For Google, 2022 was a difficult year marked by tumbling advertising revenue and one leading up to the largest cost-cutting campaign in the company’s history. The tech giant’s profit missed Wall Street analysts’ estimates for all four quarters last year, and its share price fell 40 percent amid a broader market slowdown.

In January, Google announced plans to lay off 12,000 employees, or 6 percent of its workforce. The company also scaled back on employee perks like free in-office massages, and required people in some departments to share desks and alternate days on which they come into the office.

Google is scheduled to report earnings for the three months of 2023 on April 25.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Earned $226M Despite Tumbling Profits