Salesforce beat earnings expectations. From $11.8 million to $26 million, here's how much the firm paid its executives in 2020

  • Salesforce beat earnings expectations with $1.04 a share compared with expectations of $0.75 a share. 
  • In 2020, Salesforce executives made between $11.8 million and $26 million. 
  • The firm recently announced that the ‘the 9-to-5 workday is dead’ and will provide alternative work arrangements for employees. 
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Salesforce posted positive earnings results Thursday, with earnings of $1.04 a share for the fourth quarter. Analysts expected earnings of $0.75 per share.

In late 2020, Salesforce acquired business messaging platform Slack for $27.7 million in Salesforce’s largest acquisition ever. Leading the firm through the acquisition was its long-standing CEO and co-founder Marc Benioff. In 2020, Benioff was paid nearly $26 billion.

Let’s dig further into the firm’s executive compensation.

Salesforce executive compensation

Each year, publicly traded companies are required by the SEC to disclose compensation for their CEO, CFO, and three otherwise highest-paid employees. At Salesforce, the executives whose compensation was disclosed includes a former co-CEO, the chief technology officer, the chief engineering officer, and the chief operating officer.

All executives received payments from both short- and long-term incentive plans. Short-term incentive plan payments hovered around $1 million for each executive, while long-term incentive plan payments โ€” which were offered in both straight equity awards and option awards โ€” totalled from $5.9 million to $11.1 million. 

In the charts below, we show compensation for each executive as it was presented in the summary compensation table in Salesforce’s proxy statement, split out by element. Hold your cursor over the labels at the top to highlight the different parts of the executives’ compensation, and reference the bulleted list below for more information on each compensation element.

What the terms in the chart mean:

  • Salary: The salary an executive earns in a given year.
  • Stock awards/option awards: Equity awards based on achievement within a firm’s long-term incentive plan. Long-term incentives are also considered “at-risk” pay. Stock and option awards are two different types of equity awards โ€” stocks are direct equity awards, while options give the executive the right to buy shares at a specific price.
  • NEIP: Typically cash grants for performance in the short term. Bonuses are typically one-off awards, while anything in the column titled NEIP (nonequity incentive plan) typically means the awards are granted as part of a firm’s short-term incentive plan and granted in cash (hence the “nonequity” label). Short-term incentives are thought of as part of “at-risk” pay, meaning that the executive must hit goals or benchmarks to receive the award.
  • Other compensation: This number includes any value from the compensation data related to pension plans or nonqualified deferred-compensation earnings. It also includes any payments designated as “other compensation,” which can include payment for things like personal or home security, employees’ benefits plans, country-club fees, fees related to use of company aircraft, and even relocation expenses. 

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