Michael's bonus tumbles as growth slows for Dell

Michael Dell may be the boss of the world's second-largest personal computer company, but he and other senior executives of Dell Computer in the US saw their pay fall last year as the company's growth slowed and its shares stumbled.

For the fiscal year ending January 28, Michael Dell's cash compensation dropped 26 per cent to about $US2.6 million from about $3.6 million a year ago, according to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.

Dell's salary was roughly the same at $US850,000, but his bonus dropped 36 per cent to $1.7 million from $2.6 million, not including the value of his share options.

Although it was the first time Dell had a pay cut since 1994, he is still one of the highest-paid IT industry executives in the world. Dell more than made up for the drop by dipping into his vault of share options, exercising options on five million shares. The difference between the price when the options were granted and the price when the shares were sold gave Dell a cool $233 million profit, according to the SEC.

A major change last year came in share options granted to Dell. He received options to buy about 805,000 shares, valued at $14 million.

Salaries and bonuses for other top Dell executives also fell. Former vice chairman Mort Topfer's, now "counsellor to the CEO", pay cheque was 26 per cent lighter at $1.9 million and current vice chairman Kevin Rollins' pay dropped 18 per cent to $1.7 million.

Dell's board sets specific targets for Michael Dell annually, based on revenue growth, investment returns, product quality, customer satisfaction and other measures. Other executives face similar criteria.

The company's revenue growth last year slowed to 38.5 per cent from 48 per cent the year before, and earnings slowed to 14 per cent growth from 55 per cent.

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