Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed in an SEC filing that he will now be taking a $1 salary as well as foregoing bonuses. Zuckerberg still has access to billions of dollars because last year he exercised 60 million stock options worth around $2.3 billion. Zuckerberg sold around half of the stock to cover his tax bill. He also still has another 60 million stock options that can be exercised on November 7, 2015.
Receiving a $1 salary is common for the tech executive elite. Steve Jobs took a $1 salary when he returned to Apple as CEO in 1998. He did not take any stock grants after 2003 either. Google executives Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt received salaries of $1 in 2005. Today Schmidt’s salary is in the millions, but Page and Brin continue to receive a $1 salary. Other executives that receive a $1 salary include Larry Ellison (Oracle), Elon Musk (Tesla Motors), Mark Pincus (Zynga), and Meg Whitman (HP).
Executives tend to take a $1 salary as part of a belief that compensation is met by continuing to drive stock price growth. However, some executives take a $1 salary as punishment. For example, Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit took a $1 salary as the bank struggled to recover from the financial crisis.
Last year Zuckerberg receive a $266,101 bonus and a $500,000 base salary. He also still has access to Facebook’s private planes, which costed about $1.2 million last year.