If Apple iTunes has made $0.99 the de facto price for a music download, what should be the price of a CEO “download”? According to Google, the price should be $0.99 as well. Interesting tidbit: the three execs who run Google each drew a salary of $1 last year. The three also collected a Google holiday bonus of $1,000, the same as any other rank-and-file employee. The key, of course, is that Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin made up for their paltry $1 salaries with the large equity stakes they own in Google, making them billionaires (on paper, at least). For example, Schmidt owns shares worth $4.9 billion; Brin owns shares worth $13.2 billion; and Page owns shares worth $13.4 billion.
So is $1 a gimmick only for insanely wealthy CEOs who want to avoid drawing attention to how much money they’re worth? Is the $1 salary gimmick a way for companies to dole out massive amounts of perks and non-salary compensation instead?
If that’s the case, what is the best example of a $0.99 CEO download when the CEO is actually just a normal working guy, and not a closet billionaire? It seems like every time I hear a CEO accepting a $1 salary, it’s usually just for decorative, ornamental purposes.