Oracle cuts stock grants to CEO Ellison

Shareholders held a mostly symbolic protest vote last year in response to high executive pay.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 29, 2014 12:53PM
Credit: © Action Press/Rex Features

Caption: Larry Ellison, co-founder & Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Corp.By Shira Ovide, The Wall Street Journal

Oracle (ORCL) significantly cut its yearly stock grants to Chief Executive Larry Ellison (pictured) and other top executives nearly a year after a wave of shareholder opposition to compensation paid to the billionaire chief.

Mr. Ellison, typically among the highest-paid U.S. corporate executives, has received the bulk of his compensation in the form of an award of seven million stock options in each of the last eight years at least, according to compensation disclosures. 

Last week, the board granted him options on three million shares, according to a regulatory filing released Monday.

The options would be valued at roughly $46 million, based on Oracle's most recent stock price and the value it placed on other stock options in the fiscal year ended May 31.

The reduction in Mr. Ellison's grant may be a reaction to a mostly symbolic stockholder protest vote last year in response to the pay of Oracle's top three executives, Mr. Ellison and co-Presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz.

Mr. Hurd's and Ms. Catz's stock-option grants fell to 2.25 million shares each from five million, according to Monday's filings.

Last fall, for the second year in a row, more shareholders voted against than for a nonbinding measure endorsing the pay Oracle's board awarded to its executives. Shareholders narrowly elected three directors on Oracle's compensation committee, with fewer than 60 percent of votes cast. Mr. Ellison, who founded Oracle, owns 25 percent of the company's stock, according to its most recent proxy statement.

The votes followed a loud campaign from labor-affiliated groups, including an arm of the labor federation Change to Win, which complained that Mr. Ellison was paid tens of millions of dollars each year regardless of Oracle's financial performance. The groups also criticized what it said were Oracle directors' failures to respond to long-standing compensation concerns.

Mr. Ellison topped The Wall Street Journal's most recent annual survey of the highest-paid corporate executives, receiving compensation of $76.9 million in the company's fiscal year ended May 31, 2013. Oracle's stock price rose nearly 28 percent in those 12 months.

Mr. Ellison owns more than 1.1 billion Oracle shares, according to its most recent proxy statement. His stake was valued at nearly $47 billion at Monday's closing price.

More from The Wall Street Journal

Tags: ORCL
Jul 29, 2014 3:19PM

Very important information!  Thanks so much for sharing it.

Jul 29, 2014 3:50PM
I'm perplexed how Oracle can even remain in business at all.  I have yet to hear of an Oracle project that didn't deteriorate into litigation over an incomplete project.  Unfortunately most of their customers are government agencies, so you and I, the taxpayers are footing the bill.
Jul 30, 2014 7:56AM
I wonder how he will taste? Eat the rich, they are tender and pampered.
Jul 29, 2014 3:58PM

He has to make do on only 3 million shares??? Oh the poor man! Whatever will he do? How will he make ends meet??

I say, let's take up a collection for ol' Larry, see if we can scrounge up a few hundred million dollars to help the man out. Any takers?

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