Wednesday, June 29, 2022

$835 million may not sound like a lot of money, but look at it in context

This remarkably nonchalant New York Times piece on executive compensation deserves a deep dive (and not in a good way), but for now, I want to zoom in on one number in particular.

Jeff Green, chief executive of The Trade Desk, a digital advertising company, reported compensation of $835 million last year, making him the top-paid executive in the Equilar survey, which encompasses 200 companies, all of which have revenue over $1 billion. Mr. Green’s pay in 2021 was the third-highest amount that Equilar found in its past five annual surveys, which are based on companies’ pay disclosures; Mr. Musk’s deal in 2018, which Tesla valued at $2.3 billion, is still the biggest in those years.


 For Mr. Green of The Trade Desk to qualify for the options in his package, valued in the proxy statement at $828 million, the company’s stock price must climb well above current levels, but there are no business goals for The Trade Desk to achieve.

Melinda Zurich, a spokeswoman for The Trade Desk, said the stock price targets in the company’s award were ambitious and noted that its stock was up several thousand percent since its initial public offering in 2016.

“Jeff has played an integral role in driving that growth, and is key to the company’s future growth agenda,” she added.

These deals are complicated and it's possible that Mr. Green will walk away with less than $835 million, but given the numbers, it's almost impossible to come up with a scenario where the man won't wildly overcompensated if the stock lucks (or is manipulated) into a good run. If so, all of the profits for the next six plus years will go to installment payments for the CEO's 2021 compensation package.

From Wikipedia:

It is true that TTD had revenue greater than $1 billion which big money, but $835 million takes up an obscenely large chunk of that $1.2 billion. The number is even more striking when you look at income. Whether you use operating or net, Green's compensation package for 2021 is, at least in theory, more than six times the company's income for that year.

TTD appears to be a healthy company with a history of solid growth (though its 2021 income was sharply off from the previous year), but there is no reason to expect this thirteen year old operation will suddenly experience explosive growth in the near future, and if it doesn't, (assuming the stock still has a good run) this pay package would fall under the category of, for lack of a better word, looting.  

Green came into this a billionaire going into this. He can afford to take an all or nothing bet, particularly when the expected value is this high.

No comments:

Post a Comment