You find a lot of interesting little details in the bowels of companies’ financial statements.One detail from Facebook’s financial statements that we’ve already reported is that the company paid $693,000 last year to rent private jets to fly Mark Zuckerberg around.
And that’s fine.
Most companies of Facebook’s size rent (or buy) private jets to fly their senior executives around. It’s more efficient and convenient, for one thing. And it’s basically like renting a flying conference room–when you stick a few execs together in a small plane for several hours, you can get a whole lot of meetings done.
Mark Zuckerberg’s private-jet usage wasn’t just for work, of course. It also included some “family and friends” flying and was expensed as part of his comprehensive security program, which Facebook pays for. And that’s fine, too. When you’re as rich, famous, visible, and important to your company as Mark Zuckerberg is, it makes sense for the company to pay for security. It’s worth it to reduce the risk that something might happen to you.
But there was one other Mark Zuckerberg expense that Facebook paid for last year that made us go hmmm….
Now, we have no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg’s estate and financial planning is complex enough to warrant a $91,000 bill. (Having billions of dollars will do that.) And $91,000 certainly isn’t much in the grand scheme, especially when you see what other big CEOs are paid.
But we just don’t see how it helps Facebook or Facebook shareholders to foot the bill for Mark Zuckerberg’s estate and financial planning. And we generally frown on expenses like club memberships and other perks that serve primarily to enrich senior executives by paying some of their personal expenses for them.
So we asked Facebook about that $91,000 estate planning bill.
The company said it was a “perk” for senior executives for a while–a perk that some of the executives took advantage of and others did not.
Facebook also said this this perk was discontinued in April of this year.
So maybe it also caused other people to go hmmmm…