It is not common for the salary of an American chief executive to be dwarfed by the cost of keeping that executive safe. But then, Google is an unconventional company.
The Internet search giant paid its top executive, Eric E. Schmidt, a salary of $1 and a holiday bonus of $1,723 in 2006, according to a regulatory filing Wednesday. But Mr. Schmidt’s personal security cost shareholders $532,755, representing the bulk of his compensation. Mr. Schmidt also received $22,456 to offset taxes due on a perk: the use of a Google-chartered aircraft by family members and friends.
Google’s co-founders, Sergey Brin, president of technology, and Larry Page, president of products, earned the same salary and bonus as Mr. Schmidt. Mr. Page received an additional $36,795 for transportation, logistics and personal security.
The token salaries represent a sacrifice that Google’s top executives can afford to make. As of March 1, according to the filing, Mr. Schmidt owned more than 10.7 million shares, worth more than $5 billion at Wednesday’s closing price of $471.02. Mr. Brin owned 28.6 million shares worth about $13.5 billion, and Mr. Page owned nearly 29.2 million shares worth about $13.7 billion. Each sold shares worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the 12 months since the previous proxy filing.
The salary and bonuses paid to Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Brin and Mr. Page reflect little change from 2005, when they each earned a salary of $1 and bonuses of $1,630 to $1,723.
For the latest filings, guidance by the Securities and Exchange Commission included personal security as a perk that should be listed as compensation, said Jon Murchinson, a Google spokesman. He would not give further details about Mr. Schmidt’s security expenses.
Four other Google executives — the chief financial officer, George Reyes; the senior vice president for business operations, Shona Brown; the chief legal officer, David Drummond; and the senior vice president for product management, Jonathan Rosenberg — earned salaries of $250,000 each.
Adding other compensation, including stock option awards and incentives, they earned $1.7 million to $2.8 million. They also held unvested stock options with an estimated worth as of Dec. 31, 2006, that ranged from $21 million for Ms. Brown to $30 million for Mr. Drummond.
The company’s filing also includes a shareholder proposal to be voted on at the company’s May 10 annual meeting that would require Google to resist demands for censorship by all legal means and would prevent it from holding data that could be used to identify individuals in countries that restrict freedom of speech.
In recent years, Google has been criticized for its decision to create a search engine for the Chinese market that censors certain results. And its rival Yahoo has come under fire from human rights groups for handing over personal information to the Chinese authorities about users who were later imprisoned for criticizing the government.
Google’s board recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal.