The fact that April Fool's Day falls squarely during proxy filing season worked out well for the Fool this year, since our big prank earlier this week was claiming The Motley Fool planned to push for a "CEO Bill of Rights." Learning that one well-known company spent more than $500,000 for "security" for a CEO better known for making a measly dollar in salary sounds like it could have been part of our joke.
One can't help but wonder what Schmidt's "security" consisted of, especially since that $500K-plus figure represents more than what many of us could hope to bring home over the course of years. A team of 24/7 ninja bodyguards armed with titanium throwing stars and the more instant gratification of personal Tasers
Well, we may never know that, nor exactly who or what the company is concerned is going to come after Schmidt. (Zombie hordes? Rioting shareholders? Killer bees? Viacom
At any rate, the proxy filing showed that Schmidt and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page each made a buck in base salary and extremely modest bonuses of $1,723 apiece. Of course, the value of their stock holdings shows that none of these guys are hurting, valued at $5 billion, $13.5 billion, and $13.7 billion, respectively. Google's filing also showed that Schmidt received more than $22,000 to help out with the tax bill related to his use of another corporate perk: personal use of the company's aircraft.
Perhaps it's not fair to complain too much about the perks, since thus far, Google has performed very well as a publicly traded company. And the $1 base salary is a gesture of goodwill, since these guys have voluntarily foregone the large salaries they could have commanded. However, shareholders shouldn't forget that it is a gesture, since the buck doesn't stop at a buck. Generally speaking, there's much more than meets the eye when it comes to all types of CEO compensation, so keep an eye out for those proxy disclosures this year.
For related Foolishness, see the following articles:
- Enjoy our April Foolery -- here's our package of pro-CEO rights shenanigans, as well as our April 2 revelation that we were just kidding around.
- You make more than Apple's CEO! Or do you?
- Read about the SEC's new and improved accounting rules on options.