Why Google Inc’s Chief Business Officer Raked In $130 Million Last Year

Given the amount of businesses and fields that search engine giant Google has entered in the past year, one can only imagine how much a Google executive earns. Google released yesterday a proxy statement that highlights the amounts executives were tempted with to either return to Google or make the switch from another company.

Chief business officer, Omid Kordestani, who returned to Google last summer following news of long-time executive Nikesh Arora stepping down, was paid almost $130 million by Google last year. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the salary cap at Google is, this should give you a pretty good idea.

Business Insider posted an article highlighting just how well-loved Mr. Kordestani was at Google. Tweets welcoming back Mr. Kordestani were supplemented with quotes Business Insider extracted from a Google employee, who said: “He’s nowhere near the hard-nosed strategist that Nikesh is. But he’s an incredibly nice guy and an incredibly popular guy.” Another employee backed this up by saying: “He’s an inspiring, people-driven, culture-aware leader. The people he hired created the culture at Google, which created a lot of the magic.”

Mr. Kordestani previously worked at Netscape where, within 18 months, he helped the company increase its revenue from around $88 million to over $200 million. He subsequently joined Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) as the company’s “business founder” in 1999, one year after the company itself had been founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He was the man behind Google’s partnerships with the likes of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Netscape, and AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL).

Although his appointment was supposed to be temporary initially, Google founder Larry Page’s statement in an official blog post summed up Mr. Kordestani’s worth to the company: “There is nothing Omid doesn’t know about Google, our customers and partners, and I know that under his leadership the team will excel.”
As such, it is no surprise that such a beloved personality who apparently is the embodiment of what the company is about should be the top earner. Of the $130 million Google signed off in Mr. Kordestani’s favor last year, $123 million was in the form of stock grants, which also included a “sign-on grant” of more than 117,000 shares. Business Insider estimated that the shares, converted to today’s price, would be worth about $64 million.

Compare that with the $109 million Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt received last year, which included $100 million of restricted stock. CFO Ruth Porat used to work for Morgan Stanley, and collected over $70 million in bonuses and restricted stock in 2014 to make the switch to Google.

When Nikesh Arora took over Mr. Kordestani’s role in 2009, the enigmatic Mr. Kordestani still worked as an adviser at the highest level, which would make sense given his in-depth knowledge of the company. On his return to the company in 2011, he became one of Page’s most trusted advisers and is now back working in his original role.

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