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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stumbles along on $1 salary

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Mark Zuckerberg is one of the lowest paid CEO’s in American business, earning a salary of just $1, according to a news report published by CBS Marketwatch on April 2, 2014.

But before you shed a tear for a man so woefully underpaid, it should also be noted that Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, raked in $3.3 billion in 2013 from stock options. Facebook common stock was tattered and torn during its IPO phase and for the months that followed. However, the stock rebounded nicely in 2013 and is now at record levels. Higher stock prices mean more cash for those with stock options, and Zuckerberg took full advantage of the situation in 2013.

Zuckerberg’s decision to set his base salary at such a low level is nothing new. Other big business titans such as Larry Ellison of Oracle fame, Elon Musk from Tesla, and the late Steve Jobs from Apple were also paid very little for their work. But like with Zuckerberg, they received compensation in other ways, often far eclipsing what they would have earned with a base pay and no additional perks.

Zuckerberg’s 2012 compensation was the highest among all CEO in the land, reaching an incredible $2.28 billion. Even in 2013, in spite of his $1 base salary, Zuckerberg still received an annual compensation of $653,164, the majority of which was spent on private jets and security. So, low base pay or not, it isn’t like Zuckerberg is strapped for cash. He is still meeting his financial needs, just through different means.

Regardless of salary, stock options, etc., Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth is very high and growing, thanks to the presently high trading price of Facebook common stock. Zuckerberg controls 426.3 million shares of Facebook and at the present trading price of about $63 per share, his total wealth weighs in at approximately $26.8 billion. Zuckerberg could easily sell some of his shares for additional cash without losing his majority shareholder status, so he has little to worry about financially, at least at the moment.

Salaries haven’t changed much over the past couple of years for most Americans but the next time you glance at your check stub with a frown on your face, think about Mark Zuckerberg and his miniscule $1 salary. His is one of the lowest CEO base pay amounts in America, even if it does come with additional perks of which the average American can only dream.

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