Shortly before GoPro went public in July 2014, the company laid out a few of its potential risk factors for investors: competition from the likes of Apple, the ability to maintain the premium value of its brand and being “highly dependent” on its CEO and founder.
“Our future success depends in significant part on the continued service of our Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Woodman,” the company said in its S-1 filing. “Mr. Woodman is an at-will employee and there are no vesting restrictions on any of the Class B common stock that he owns. The loss of Mr. Woodman could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.”
So perhaps it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that GoPro would pay pretty much any amount of money to ensure that the CEO is happy and engaged.
Woodman received 4.5 million restricted stock units worth $284.5 million as of the end of 2014, earning him the title of highest paid CEO in the U.S., according to the new Bloomberg Pay Index.
That would be enough for Woodman to overtake the compensation of Cheniere Energy’s CEO, according to Bloomberg. It’s also far ahead of executives from potential competitors and tech giants like Apple, where CEO Tim Cook received $65 million in total compensation for 2014.
The new CEO pay rankings comes at a time when there is renewed debate around corporate pay structure, thanks in large part to Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, who made headlines around the world this week for his decision to slash his own salary and use the difference to boost the minimum pay for his employees to $70,000 a year.
For GoPro in particular, that issue is likely less of a concern: many employees already make close to $100,000 in salary, according to figures from Glassdoor, an anonymous employee review website, and many likely profited from having a stake in the company at the time of the public offering.
So perhaps as far as investors are concerned, Woodman’s pay may be money well spent. GoPro’s stock has fallen back to earth in recent months, but it is still up more than 85% from its IPO price. Read more…