Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is the highest earner in tech

21 Oct 2014

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who in an infamous gaffe recently suggested female tech workers should trust karma for a pay raise, is the tech industry’s biggest earner with a package worth US$84.3m this year.

An SEC filing has revealed Nadella’s total compensation package for 2014 topped US$84m. This includes a salary of US$919,000, US$3.6m as a cash bonus and more than US$70m in share awards, the bulk of which cannot be cashed until 2019, provided targets are met.

Excluding one-time grants that stay put until 2019, Nadella’s package came in at US$11.6m so far this year.

What Satya Nadella has been doing at Microsoft

Nadella became CEO of Microsoft in February of this year and has been busy repurposing Microsoft to be a software and devices company.

In just a few months, he has spearheaded a major restructure that will result in thousands of layoffs and has subsumed iconic mobile giant Nokia into the Microsoft ranks.

However, his blitzkrieg of change hit a speedbump in recent weeks, when Nadella had to apologise for comments he made at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event in Phoenix, Arizona.

When answering a question about female tech workers seeking pay increases, Nadella told interviewer Maria Klawe, a computer scientist and president of Harvey Mudd College, “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise.

“And that, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.”

Nadella was swiftly obliged to apologise and in a memo to employees he said the advice he gave was “just plain wrong”.

Nadella has just embarked on a new diversity plan, with a focus on equal pay and an equal opportunity for equal work. He said overall differences in pay base among genders and races is consistently within 0.5pc at Microsoft.

Somehow we think Nadella’s compensation package doesn’t fit in the latter bracket.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years