Microsoft CEO’s faith in the system pays off, to the tune of $84 million

Satya Nadella won’t need to worry too much about asking for a raise.

The Microsoft CEO, who found himself in the hot seat earlier this month after making controversial remarks about women and raises, was awarded compensation valued at more than $84 million, according to a securities filing released Monday.

Nadella’s compensation is composed of a nearly $919,000 salary, an annual bonus of $3.6 million and stock awards valued at nearly $80 million. The stock award includes a one-time retention award of $13.5 million, made in August of 2013 to retain senior leaders while the company searched to replace former CEO Steve Ballmer. It also includes a long-term stock award that could be worth $59.2 million, which Nadella received in connection to becoming CEO in February of this year.

The value of this total package, as disclosed in Microsoft’s proxy, coincidentally goes public less than two weeks after Nadella’s gaffe at a conference for women in computing. There, the CEO responded to a question by Microsoft board member Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College, about advice he would give women asking for a raise. Nadella replied that some of the best advice he’s received was to have “faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along” and that not asking for a raise is “good karma. It’ll come back.”

The comments sparked swift outrage on Twitter and criticism from a women’s activist group. Soon afterwards, Nadella apologized, stating he was “completely wrong” and calling his response “inarticulate.” And he has since clarified his remarks further, saying he answered based on how he managed his own career, calling it a mistake “to take your own personal experience and project it on half of humanity. It’s just insensitive.”

For Nadella, however, faith in the system does appear to be paying off. The long-term stock award in Nadella’s package is dependent on Microsoft’s performance, relative to its peers, and he won’t see any of it until 2019. Still, the company stated in the proxy that the compensation delivered to Nadella for 2014, excluding the one-time awards, was $11.6 million. That amount reflects a more than 50 percent boost to the value of his 2013 package, when he was a senior executive leading the company’s cloud and enterprise business for part of the year.

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