Meta Execs Are Selling Their Stock. Should Investors Be Concerned?

Andrew Bosworth, Nick Clegg and Javier Olivan all sold some of their Meta stock this month.

Andrew Bosworth appears on stage in front of the a projected Facebook "like" icon.
Andrew Bosworth made $2.06 million from selling his Meta stock this month. picture alliance via Getty Image

Three Meta (META) executives offloaded more than $4 million of their stock in Meta last week, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Andrew Bosworth, chief technology officer, earned the most on the open market. On May 16, he sold more than 10,000 Meta shares, totaling a $2.06 million payout. That same day, the company’s global affairs head Nick Clegg sold $1.08 million worth of his stock. On May 17, chief operating officer Javier Olivan made $1.02 million off his Meta stock.

While it’s easy to raise eyebrows, these kinds of sales are common for Meta executives. Many routinely sell stock every three months as part of a predetermined plan allowed by the SEC. The price, amount and transaction dates are preset to avoid breaking insider trading laws.

How do Meta executives’ stock sales compare to other months?

Meta’s stock is at a one-year high, trading today (May 22) at $250 per share. Still, Bosworth’s earnings were below average due to fewer shares sold. In February, he sold 30,500 shares and made $5.28 million on the open market, more than twice what he grossed this month. In November and August, he netted $3.4 million and $5.72 million, respectively. Last May, he made the same $2.06 million.

Clegg also earned below his year’s average. While this month’s payout topped the $902,000 and $1.02 million from February and November, respectively, it fell short of his earnings months prior. In August, he made $1.96 million, and last May, he made $1.3 million.

Olivan stepped into his executive role on Oct. 1. He filed with the SEC in November but didn’t sell any shares on the market. In February, he made $2.27 million from selling Meta stock, more than twice what he earned this month.

Jennifer Newstead, chief legal officer, spreads her payments out differently. Rather than selling shares every three months, Newstead has sold stock every week for at least two years. Most recently, she offloaded 722 shares for $170,000.

Susan Li, chief financial officer, has a plan to move her stocks with the SEC, but she hasn’t sold any shares on the market since assuming her executive role in November. The company’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, doesn’t appear to have a plan set up.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg sold shares almost every weekday in 2021 but stopped in November, according to SEC filings. He hasn’t sold any stock since that month.

How much of an executive’s comp is in stock?

Meta’s executives earn a large portion of their yearly income through stock awards, according to SEC filings. Bosworth earned $20.3 million last year, of which 91 percent came from stock. The document didn’t list Clegg’s salary, but the executive received a $12.3 million stock package last year, Bloomberg reported. Olivan made $21.3 million, 87 percent from stock.

Ninety-one percent of Li’s $15.2 million earnings came from stock, and 90 percent of Cox’s $22.3 million total. Zuckerberg is the exception, with the majority of his annual gross coming from allowances for personal security, a private aircraft and an additional $10 million stipend.

How do Meta’s operations compare to that of other companies?

Executives at other Big Tech companies regularly offload their stock as well. At Google, Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president, made 95 percent of his yearly income from stocks, and he sells shares every few months. As does Philipp Schindler, chief business officer, and Kent Walker, chief legal officer and president of global affairs. This is also common for executives at Apple and Amazon, according to regulatory filings. Microsoft executives like Satya Nadella, Amy Hood and Judson Althoff sell their stock on a yearly basis.

Meta Execs Are Selling Their Stock. Should Investors Be Concerned?