Insider: Perks of the job

While the technology industry has yet to
return to the opulence of the dot-com boom, the lifestyles – in particular the
company perks – of the tech company leaders underlines a sector in pretty fine

A peek at the proxy statement filed by
Oracle in mid-September 2007 underlines that point. Hidden in the depths of the
filing, for example, was the price tag attached to
Larry Ellison’s personal use of the corporate private jet for fiscal year 2007:
$140,000, not including the $44,460 tax penalty the company incurred for
allowing Ellison’s family to fly with him when he uses the jet for business.

Elsewhere, supply chain management software
provider i2 Technologies racked up costs of $942,000 last year shuttling the company’s CEO Michael McGrath back and
forth between his home in Maine and his office
in Dallas,
accompanied by a further $69,000 tax bill on the value of the flights.

At Hewlett Packard, meanwhile, all non-employee directors are
afforded use of the private jet for travel to and from HP events, on top of the
$200,000 in compensation they received in fiscal year 2006 for attending
company meetings. A bonus gift of up to $2,500 worth of HP equipment is also
theirs on an annual basis – assuming they want it.

Aspiring fat cats might feel better off,
however, at mobile phone maker Motorola, where each executive is issued with a
personal health coach; or perhaps at IBM, where “senior leaders”, as they are
dubbed, are able to claim-back $8,000 annually in financial counselling, “to
guide them in decisions regarding their significant IBM stock investments”.

And it’s not just advisory financial
assistance for which shareholders are forking out: HP’s Mark Hurd received no
less than $147,903 in “sponsored mortgage assistance” during the fiscal year

On top of his personal financial planning
expenses, IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano clocked up $426,596 in personal company car
usage, personal travel on the company jet, personal security, and that other
curious IBMism, “spousal attendance” at company events, for fiscal year 2006.

None of which compares, however, to the cash spent keeping Larry Ellison safe
at night: his residential security costs have teetered near the $2 million mark
for years, hitting $1,708,763 in 2007.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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