September 30, 2009

Microsoft CEO Receives Cut in Annual Compensation

Following a tough economic year, Microsoft paid its chief executive about 6 percent less in compensation as it reported its first ever drop in annual sales.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer was paid $1,276,627 for fiscal year 2009, compared to $1,350,834 for the previous year.

Ballmer's salary increased by about 4 percent to $665,833 while his bonus was cut from $700,000 to $600,000 in 2008, according to Microsoft's yearly proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Mr. Ballmer focuses on building our long-term success, and, as a significant shareholder, his personal wealth is tied directly to Microsoft's value," the company said in its filing.

"While the Compensation Committee believes Mr. Ballmer is underpaid for his role and performance, it has accepted his recommendation to continue with Microsoft's historical practice."

Microsoft says Ballmer's compensation was based on a $1.4 million average of executive pay among "peer companies", which does not include executives from Dell, Oracle and Apple.

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is known for receiving annual payments of $1, while allowing his earnings to come from the company's success.

Microsoft said Ballmer's "maximum pay opportunity" for this year is 1,997,499 dollars.

Ballmer has requested not to be compensated in the form of shares in the software company.

He currently holds 4.6 percent (about 408 million) of Microsoft's shares, according to the Associated Press.


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