IBM's New CEO Is Earning Less Than Her Peers

Virginia Rometty

When new IBM CEO Virginia “Ginni” Rometty became CEO this year, she doubled her salary — but she’s still getting a pittance compared to other CEOs of major tech companies.

With her promotion, Rometty’s pay went from $800,000 with a cash bonus of $1.47 million in 2011 to a salary of $1.5 million and a target cash bonus of $3.5 million, for a total of $5 million. 

She’s also eligible for $10 million in a long-term bonus that IBM calls Performance Share Units (PSUs) that don’t mature until 2015, according to an SEC filing.

An Occupy Wall Street protester would point out that this still puts her in the 1% and we shouldn’t feel sorry for her. Plus, as IBM has not released its full 2012 proxy yet, it’s unclear if her pay will grow via stock.

But she’d need some hefty stock awards to bring her pay equal to some of these others:

  • Oracle CEO Larry Ellison: He got $77.6 million in total compensation last year.
  • IBM’s outgoing CEO, Sam Palmisano: Although he’s no longer CEO, in 2012 IBM’s chairman will earn $1.8 million in cash and be eligible for $20 million in PSUs. In 2011, his bonus alone was $6.5 million, more than Rometty’s pay. In 2010 (the latest year for which full salary numbers have been reported), he was paid $30.32 million total.
  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: His 2011 total compensation was $20.8 million, according to the AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch site.
  • HP CEO Meg Whitman: She famously earned a salary of $1 in 2011, but she was granted $16.5 million in stock.
  • Cisco CEO John Chambers: After the awful 2011 Cisco had, Chambers pay was reduced by a third. He had a lower salary than Rometty, at $375,000, and earned no cash bonus. But he was granted $12.5 million in stock.
  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Microsoft’s CEO is one of the few standouts that makes Rometty’s pay look comparatively fat. He earned $1.4 million in 2011, in equal parts salary plus bonuses. However, Ballmer has huge holdings of Microsoft stock. He sold $1.3 billion worth in late 2010 and that still left him with about 350 million shares, worth about $9 billion.

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