Alphabet’s been cutting back on spending — laying off droves of workers, eliminating long-beloved perks — but plenty of dough seems to be set aside for the tech giant’s C-suite.

Sundar Pichai received a total compensation package worth more than $225 million for leading Google and its parent company through 2022, according to an annual notice to shareholders published Friday. On top of a $2 million salary and almost $6 million for personal security, Pichai received his triennial stock award — a hunk of shares aimed at keeping Pichai motivated, hard-working and incredibly rich.

The Bay Area-based tech giant laid off 12,000 workers in January and has reduced perks for the remaining workforce amid weak digital advertising demand and a turbulent economic picture. Pichai, in a memo to staff announcing the layoffs, said the firm had overhired during the pandemic and wrote, “I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”

It will be up to Pichai and his leadership team, who received eight-figure compensation packages for 2022, to keep morale high and fend off Microsoft’s attempt to turn Bing into a Google Search rival. But the notice, like the layoffs before it, shows the apparent disconnect between executive leaders and the workforces that run their companies.

Pichai’s package is 808 times larger than the median Alphabet employee pay in 2022, which was $279,802. (The year prior, without the stock award, the ratio was 21-to-1.) CEOs’ annual compensation packages have dramatically outstripped the growth of employee pay over recent decades, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Alphabet decided to tie more of Pichai’s compensation directly to the company’s short-term financial success than it did in past years. Compared with 2019’s package, this award is weighted more toward “performance stock units,” which will vest based on Alphabet’s shareholder return compared with other companies in the S&P 100 in the next three years. If the company is at the 55th percentile of companies on the index, he’ll receive the full package. If Pichai manages to steer Alphabet to the 75th percentile, he’ll get his maximum pay out — a $100 million bump over the already staggering $225 million.

What’s more, Alphabet’s stock has already climbed more than 12% since a dip in November, when the stock awards were calculated. Come 2026, when the awards are fully vested, Pichai’s 2022 pay out could be worth tens or hundreds of millions more.

Pichai, 50, briefly worked as a consultant at McKinsey before joining Google in 2004. He became a senior vice president in 2013, leading Android, Google Chrome and the Google Apps suite before taking charge of the Product division altogether. Then, in 2015, he began as Google CEO before taking over Alphabet’s top job from Google co-founder Larry Page in 2019.

The company said in the notice that it relies on a few factors to decide executive pay: peer compensation practices, Alphabet’s and the executive’s business performance, and the size of existing equity awards. Google listed the companies it considers to be a “peer group” in determining competitive executive pay — including fellow Bay Area tech titans like Meta, Salesforce and Apple, as well as media conglomerates like Disney and Comcast.

Hear of anything happening at Google or another tech company? Contact tech reporter Stephen Council securely at [email protected] or on Signal at 628-204-5452.


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