Mark Zuckerberg, a one-dollar-a-year man

- April 1, 2014 2 MIN READ

There’s plenty you can do with $1 – like go to the dollar store and realise that things don’t really cost a dollar. Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg – worth about $27 billion and ranked as the 22nd richest person in the world by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index – decided to do the honourable thing by us poor jealous folk and agree to a $1-a-year base salary.

This is not an April Fool’s Day joke. According to a regulatory filing with the US Securities Exchange Commission, in 2013 he was paid a meagre $1, down from $503,205 in 2012 when Facebook IPOed.

The internet has gone ablaze since this figure went public yesterday. The practice however isn’t new. Numerous sources indicate that it was Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs who popularised the $1-a-year CEO trend. Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are also earning that annual salary.

It’s important to point out that Zuckerberg owns 61.6 percent of Facebook shares; and after seeing his net worth multiply last year, with shares doubling in value, we speculate that he just went: “Holy shit! What to do with all this dough…”

According to the filing, 29-year-old Zuckerberg made $3.3 billion last year after purchasing 60 million shares. 41.35 million of those shares was offered to the public by Facebook in December last year. At the time, the company said a majority of the proceeds would be used to pay for the taxes incurred from the transaction – which totalled $1 billion, according to various reports.

Stepping up his philanthropic efforts, Zuckerberg also donated 18 million shares to charity; and started a global non-for-profit organisation called Internet.org which extends the internet’s connectivity to the remaining two-thirds of the world who don’t have it. The organisation’s site states, “No one should have to choose between access to the internet and food or medicine.”

All envy aside, it’s great to see Zuckerberg take such initiative and use his wealth responsibly. So who’s going to start the negative base salary trend? Where CEOs have to pay the companies to work there?

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