Google founders, CEO took US$1 salaries in 2006

The co-founders and chief executive of Google will each be paid salaries of just US$1 this year, the same they've been paid since 2004

The three top executives at Google are also the lowest paid employees at the company, and they prefer it that way, according to a company filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, presidents of technology and products, respectively, and CEO Eric Schmidt, were each paid US$1 salaries for their work at the company last year, the same as they've been paid since 2004, and exactly the sum they will each receive this year.

"Eric, Larry and Sergey voluntarily receive only nominal cash compensation. Their primary compensation continues to come from returns on their ownership stakes in Google. As significant stockholders, their personal wealth is tied directly to sustained stock price appreciation and performance, which provides direct alignment with stockholder interests," the filing says.

The three executives have been offered competitive salaries but each has refused.

But as the filing says, the high price of Google stock has boosted the fortunes of the three executives. Based mainly on their holdings of Google stock, Forbes magazine ranks Brin and Page as tied for 26th place on its most recent list of billionaires, with a net value of US$16.6 billion each, while Schmidt ranked number 116, at US$6.2 billion.

Google's stock, which is listed on the U.S. Nasdaq market, ended trading on Wednesday at US$471.02 per share, up 2.3 percent so far this year and 454.1 percent since its initial public offering on Aug. 18, 2004.

The executives also received some other compensation during the year. Brin received the lowest amount of compensation, US$1,723, a bonus that was paid to every Google employee, including Page and Schmidt. On top of that amount, Page collected US$33,195 for transportation, logistics and personal security and US$3,600 for personal travel using rental vehicles, while Schmidt was allocated US$532,755 for personal security, and US$22,456 in tax gross-ups paid by Google, the filing says.

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