Microsoft CEO Salary

In 2022, that was $2.5 million. Microsoft’s CEO base salary varied over the years, increasing from $1.5 million in 2018 to $2.5 million in 2022. However, it’s essential to notice that most of the CEO’s compensation is performance-based and goes beyond the base salary. For instance, in 2022, of the total compensation for Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft, only 4% was base salary.

Take the case of Satya Nadella, which as of 2022, had $190 million of Microsoft’s stocks.

As of 2022, Satya Nadella had 763,518, valued at $190 million at Microsoft’s current market value. Nadella also got a $2.5 million base salary in 2022, plus $42.27 million in stock awards and over $10 million in non-stock incentives. Nadella sold hundreds of millions of dollars of Microsoft stocks in the last ten years, making him a centi-millionaire. In 2022, 96% of Nadella’s salary was performance-based, whereas only 4% comprised a base salary.

Indeed, for top executives, the real earning potential is not in the base salary but rather in the stock awards and other performance-based compensations.

For instance, in the specific case of Microsoft, the CEO pay mix has been increasingly skewed toward performance.

For instance, in 2021, 71% of the CEO’s compensation was performance-based; in 2022, this number increased to 96%!


Thus, top executives at large tech companies can get wealthy via stock compensation.

Yet, it’s important to remark that, often, these top executives can’t just sell the stock awards.

Still, they have a schedule for it (vesting period), which can vary depending on the company’s compensation structure.

For instance, Microsoft requires its executives to keep at least a stock ownership for the company’s stock that goes between 8 to 15 times their base salary.

In addition, CEOs often can’t just sell the majority of their stake into the company, as this would be a wrong signal to the market.

Thus, the CEO might opt for scheduled sales of the stocks, which are cashed over the years.

Take the case of Steve Ballmer, who, after decades at Microsoft and after becoming CEO, by 2014, when he stepped down, he had a 4% of Microsoft, which today is worth $83 billion!

Steve Ballmer was the CEO of Microsoft between 2000 and 2014 when he replaced Bill Gates. Ballmer had joined Microsoft in the 1980s, rising to the role of president by 1998 before becoming CEO. Before he stepped down as CEO in 2014, he owned 4% of Microsoft stock, which at today’s market value are worth $83 billion.

A similar pattern is followed at Google, where the CEO’s base salary is around $2 million.

Google’s CEO base salary is $2 million per year. In addition to the base salary, the CEO of the company also earns stock awards and other compensations that go well beyond its base salary.

Yet, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google in 2022, got a performance-based compensation of over $290 million between 2019-2022.

Sundar Pichai might be worth more than 500 million dollars. Indeed, the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, perceived a base salary of 2 million dollars in 2022. In addition, between 2019-2022 alone, he perceived a total compensation (comprising base salary, stock awards, and other bonuses) of $294 million, making him worth more than 300 million dollars at current market value. Over the years, Pichai has sold part of his stocks, making his net worth pass 500 million dollars.

It’s worth to emphasize that this compensation is not actual cash, but it’s paid out as stocks that can be vested (sold) in a multi-year timeline.

For instance, for Google, this timeline is for three years at least.


Related Visual Stories

Bill Gates’s Net Worth

Bill Gates was the co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft until 2000, and he was on the board of Microsoft until 2020. However, over the years, Gates sold various stakes in Microsoft and diversified away from it. As of 2019, Gates had a 1.34% stake in Microsoft, which he might still own, valued at about $25 billion.

Who Owns Microsoft

Major shareholders comprise co-founder Bill Gates, who stepped down from the company’s board in 2020, which is why these shares are no longer publicly reported. In 2019, Gates still owned a stake of 103 million stocks, which accounted for 1.34% of the company’s ownership (worth over $23 billion in January 2023). Other individual shareholders comprise Satya Nadella, the company’s CEO, Brad Smith (former president), Jean-Philippe Courtois (EVP), and Amy Hood (former CFO).

Microsoft Financials

In 2022, on over $198 billion in revenue, Microsoft generated over $72.7 billion. The company had over $104 billion in liquid assets (which can be easily converted into cash).

Microsoft Revenue


Microsoft Subsidiaries

Microsoft is among the largest companies on earth, with a diversified portfolio. Owned by billionaire Bill Gates, Microsoft acquired other companies like LinkedIn, GitHub, Skype, and more over the years. Today, Microsoft is a tech empire that spans software, social media, gaming, and more.

Microsoft Revenue Per Employee

In 2022, Microsoft generated $928,663 in revenue per employee post-mass layoffs, vs. $939,668 in 2021.

Microsoft Acquisitions

Microsoft’s first acquisition in 1987, Forethought, was the developer of a presentation program that would later become PowerPoint. Since then, the company has made an average of six purchases every year, with fourteen of those exceeding the $1 billion mark. Today’s Microsoft business model spans various segments thanks to an acquisition strategy, which saw Microsoft involved in multiple acquisitions.

Microsoft Mission Statement

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. With over $110 billion in revenues in 2018, Office Products and Windows are still the main products. Yet the company also operates in Gaming (Xbox), Search Advertising (Bing), Hardware, LinkedIn, Cloud, and more.

Microsoft Business Model

Microsoft has a diversified business model, spanning from Office to gaming (with Xbox), LinkedIn, search (with Bing), and enterprise services (with GitHub). In 2021, Microsoft made over $168 billion in revenues, of which over $52 billion came from Server products and cloud services, and $39.8 billion came from Office products and cloud services. Windows generated over $23 billion, Gaming generated over $15 billion, LinkedIn over $10 billion, and search advertising (through Bing) over $8.5 billion. 

Microsoft SWOT Analysis

Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft is a revolutionary company in the world of personal computing. The company designs and manufactures software, hardware, operating systems, apps, and devices. Indeed, Windows and Microsoft Office are staples in billions of homes worldwide.

Microsoft Organizational Structure

Microsoft has a product-type divisional organizational structure based on functions and engineering groups. As the company scaled over time, it also became more hierarchical while maintaining its hybrid approach between functions, engineering groups, and management.

OpenAI Organizational Structure

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research laboratory that transitioned into a for-profit organization in 2019. The corporate structure is organized around two entities: OpenAI, Inc., which is a single-member Delaware LLC controlled by OpenAI non-profit, And OpenAI LP, which is a capped, for-profit organization. The OpenAI LP is governed by the board of OpenAI, Inc (the foundation), which acts as a General Partner. At the same time, Limited Partners comprise employees of the LP, some of the board members, and other investors like Reid Hoffman’s charitable foundation, Khosla Ventures, and Microsoft, the leading investor in the LP.

OpenAI Business Model

OpenAI has built the foundational layer of the AI industry. With large generative models like GPT-3 and DALL-E, OpenAI offers API access to businesses that want to develop applications on top of its foundational models while being able to plug these models into their products and customize these models with proprietary data and additional AI features. On the other hand, OpenAI also released ChatGPT, developing around a freemium model. Microsoft also commercializes opener products through its commercial partnership.


OpenAI and Microsoft partnered up from a commercial standpoint. The history of the partnership started in 2016 and consolidated in 2019, with Microsoft investing a billion dollars into the partnership. It’s now taking a leap forward, with Microsoft in talks to put $10 billion into this partnership. Microsoft, through OpenAI, is developing its Azure AI Supercomputer while enhancing its Azure Enterprise Platform and integrating OpenAI’s models into its business and consumer products (GitHub, Office, Bing).

Stability AI Business Model

Stability AI is the entity behind Stable Diffusion. Stability makes money from our AI products and from providing AI consulting services to businesses. Stability AI monetizes Stable Diffusion via DreamStudio’s APIs. While it also releases it open-source for anyone to download and use. Stability AI also makes money via enterprise services, where its core development team offers the chance to enterprise customers to service, scale, and customize Stable Diffusion or other large generative models to their needs.

Stability AI Ecosystem


About The Author

Scroll to Top