Longsuffering Microsoft shareholders will get a laugh out of this one.In the company’s latest proxy filing, the company’s compensation committee declares that CEO Steve Ballmer is underpaid:
Consistent with longstanding practice and his request, Mr. Ballmer does not participate in the equity component of the Incentive Plan. His award under the Incentive Plan is payable entirely in cash, and is correspondingly smaller than those made to the other Named Executive Officers. As the principal leader of Microsoft, Mr. Ballmer focuses on building our long-term success, and, as a significant shareholder, his personal wealth is tied directly to Microsoft’s value. While the Committee and the Board believe Mr. Ballmer is underpaid for his role and performance, they have accepted his request.
Specifically, the committee notes that Ballmer’s peers make average salaries of $1.4 million vs. his $682K base salary.
And while his peers average a $4.5 million average cash bonus, Ballmer gets $1.36 million.
What’s Ballmer done that’s so great?
Fiscal Year 2011 Awards for Mr. Ballmer. For fiscal year 2011, the Compensation Committee recommended and the independent members of our Board of Directors approved an Incentive Plan award of $682,500, which was 100% of his target award. The award was based on his performance appraisal and other relevant information considered by the independent members of the Board, including: Mr. Ballmer’s performance against his individual commitments; the operating income performance of the Company relative to 25 large technology companies (a group that includes most of our Technology Peers); successful product launches including Kinect for Xbox and Office 365, enhancements to Windows Azure and Bing; continued progress positioning the company as a leader in the cloud and cloud-based infrastructure; key partnerships with Facebook and Nokia; significant progress in development of the next generation of Windows; work toward the successful acquisition of Skype; lower than expected initial sales of Windows Phone 7; the 2% decline in revenue for the Windows and Windows Live Division; the need for further progress in new form factors; and an overall strong financial year in which Microsoft reported record revenue of $69.9 billion, record operating income of $27.1 billion, and record earnings per share of $2.69 representing 12%, 13%, and 28% growth, respectively.
On the other hand, shareholders might point to this chart.