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Shareholders Approve Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's $84 Million Payday

At Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday in Bellevue, Wash., CEO Satya Nadella cashed in big. Shareholders approved his proposed $84 million pay package, a reward for a job well done. The pay package, which includes $59.2 million in stock options and a $13.5 million in retention pay, according to Bloomberg, has come under attack as excessive by Institutional Shareholder Services, an investor advisory organization.

Indeed Nadella ranks among the most highly paid CEOs. According to this year's Wall Street Journal/Hay Group CEO Compensation report ranking the 300 largest companies in revenue, the median pay package was $11.4 million, with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison taking the top spot in 2013 earning $76.9 million.

By that measure, Nadella isn't breaking any records. Oracle's share price rose nearly 29 percent, while Microsoft's share price jumped 32 percent since Nadella took over in early February. Nevertheless, investor advocates have scrutinized CEO compensation in wake of the financial crisis.

While Microsoft's prospects look better than they have in a long time, the package for some may look excessive. Others would argue Nadella has plenty of incentive to continue Microsoft's turnaround, which is still in its early stages and certainly not yet a sure thing, given rapid changes in fortune that can take place in the IT industry.

Do you believe Nadella's compensation is excessive or is it fair?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/05/2014 at 12:09 PM


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