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Saturday Dec 21 2019
By
AFP

New Alphabet chief Sundar Pichai gets significant pay boost

By
AFP
Sundar Pichai's annual pay will more than double to $2 million next year. Photo: File

SAN FRANCISCO: Google parent Alphabet boosted the salary of newly anointed chief Sundar Pichai and promised more than $200 million in shares if the company hits performance goals, a regulatory filing Friday said.

Pichai's annual pay will more than double to $2 million next year, and he will be in line for $90 million shares of stock based on how well the internet titan does in the market and another $120 million in shares that vest over time, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by the Alphabet board.

The value of the performance-based shares could be zero depending on whether Alphabet stock hits goals set in comparison to the S&P 100 in the coming two years, the filing said.

Taking the reins as chief executive of Google parent Alphabet, the soft-spoken, Indian-born Sundar Pichai faces a host of challenges at one of the world´s most valuable companies, which has become besieged by activists and political leaders.

Increased scrutiny 

The 47-year-old Pichai, who will remain as Google CEO in addition to taking up the new post, is seen as a steadying influence at a time when Alphabet faces an onslaught from regulators and others.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are stepping away from their roles at the company they founded two decades ago in a California garage, but will remain in control of the Alphabet board based on share voting rights.

Pichai will take over from Page as CEO of Alphabet, which includes Google as well as units focused on its "other bets" in areas including self-driving cars, life sciences and a variety of "moonshot" projects.

Sundar steps into his new role as antitrust enforcers in Washington, Brussels and elsewhere are stepping up their scrutiny of Google, which is the internet's dominant search engine and also the maker of the leading Android mobile operating system.

The company has also been in the crosshairs over how it manages "hate speech" and extremist content spread online, and how it deals with children´s privacy on its YouTube video service.

Recently, its employees have organized to protest what some claimed was a lack of action on sexual harassment by executives, as well as Google´s dealings with the US military and border security authorities.

When Google dropped out of bidding for a massive military cloud computing contract, it faced criticism for being unpatriotic, and Pichai appeared to ease tensions with a fence-mending visit with President Donald Trump.

Last December, Pichai kept calm while testifying in Congress as he parried US lawmakers over complaints of political bias and intrusive data collection.

"We build our products in a neutral way," Pichai said in one exchange.