The myth of the $1 CEO salary

More high-profile CEOs are reducing their annual cash salary to $1. But while some herald the move as altruistic, the truth is most of today's CEOs bring in millions through noncash awards like stocks, according to business newsletter The Hustle.

CEOs who have lowered their salary to $1 include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs, for example, was only paid $15 in cash from 1997 through 2011 on his $1 salary. But during that time, his stock value increased from $17.5 million to $2.2 billion, according to the newsletter, which cites Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

"Though the $1 salary is often hailed as some kind of benevolent act, these alternate forms of compensation often make it more personally beneficial than it's made out to be," according to Hustle writer Zachary Crockett. "For starters, research suggests that many CEOs who take a $1 salary are rewarded with stock, option, or bonus packages that match — or even outweigh — the cash they sacrifice on a pay stub."

More articles on compensation issues:
6 things to know about chief clinical officer pay
Health system executive pay growth outpaces hospital exec pay
States with highest, lowest nurse salaries

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