Microsoft supremo and billionaire Steve Ballmer has added his tuppence worth in the ongoing debate over executive pay packages by questioning the $74-million that Oracle paid its CEO Larry Ellison last year. Ballmer, in comparison, earned only $980 000.
Times Online reports that Ellison, who is worth an estimated $26-billion, received a pay package valued at $61,2-million and stock option gains of nearly $182-million for the year ending 31 May. Most of his package consisted of 7-million stock options worth about $50,1-million. He was also paid $1-million in salary and $8,4-million in incentives.
"I find it interesting and probably not that considered a decision to do what [Oracle have] done," Ballmer says.
It should be comforting, though, for Ballmer to know that the Microsoft board recently admitted that it "probably underpaid" him.
Claiming the moral high ground in the executive pay debate, Ballmer – who owns 9,3% of Microsoft and has personal wealth of about $15-billion – says his direct stake in the company is motivation enough for him to commit to transforming the company.
"I’m sort of like a parent to this little child and I’m a large stakeholder in Microsoft," he says. "And I certainly feel like if I do a good job I’ll be well rewarded in the appreciation of our shares."
We can't wait to see if Larry bares his claws in the next round of this (fat)cat fight.