September 21, 2009

Ballmer Gets Major Salary Boost

Despite the this year's economic downturn resulting in a 17 percent drop in Microsoft's profits, the software company still managed to bump its CEO's salary by 4 percent at the start of the 2009 fiscal year.

A preliminary filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Steve Ballmer's salary went from $640,833 to $665,883 even with a massive drop in personal computer sales.

On top of the raise, Ballmer earned a $700,000 bonus just last year. However, his 2009 bonus, stock awards and other performance-based pay were not mentioned in this particular draft of its proxy statement.
The filing also contained a list of proposals to be voted on during the next Microsoft shareholder meeting set to take place November 19, according to the Associated Press.

The company's board made an unusual proposal for a "say-on-pay" measure in order to provide shareholders the opportunity to have a say on executive compensation every three years, though the advisory vote would not be binding.

Proposals of this nature are typically set forth by shareholders rather than the board, but while drafting its proposal, Microsoft said the board considered proposals from several shareholder groups, along with proposed federal legislation that requires say-on-pay for public companies.

Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith and deputy general counsel John Seethoff wrote in a blog post that some stockholders had pushed for a yearly advisory vote, but that it is better to have more time to determine fair long-term incentives.

They also wrote that it would have been difficult for the board to reconstruct a its compensation program on such short notice.

Microsoft is expected to finalize a final , more detailed version of the proxy statement regarding executive compensation around the first of October.

Microsoft's 2009 earnings fell from $17.7 billion 2008 to $14.6 billion. Sales were down 3 percent to $58.4 billion, which marks the first time the company experienced a revenue set back since going public in 1986.


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