Tech executives have a higher profile than ever before, whether it’s Amazon’s Jeff Bezos becoming the world’s richest person and simultaneously a favorite punching bag of President Donald Trump or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg being called to testify before congress about abuse of his company’s platform by foreign actors.
With fame and fortune comes security risks — at home and on the road.
Facebook said in July that it approved a $10 million pre-tax allowance for CEO Zuckerberg to cover, among other things, “the costs of security personnel for his protection.” That was an increase from $7.3 million in 2017.
Here’s how much tech companies are spending to protect and transport some of the industry’s best-known executives:
The billionaire co-founder of Facebook cost the company $8.9 million in 2017, a 53 percent increase from 2016. The total included $7.3 million for personal security and $1.5 million for use of private aircraft.
Facebook’s operating chief is no ordinary second-in-command. Sandberg has authored two books, makes regular public speaking engagements and is one of the most prominent women in business. Last year, Facebook spent $2.7 million to cover Sandberg’s security, up just slightly from the prior year but more than double the costs in 2015.
Amazon’s founder and CEO is not only the world’s wealthiest person but, according to a recent Bloomberg story, the richest human in modern history, with a net worth over $150 billion. But his security expense has been consistent over the years. Since 2010, Amazon has spent $1.6 million annually on providing business and travel security for Bezos. In 2009, the cost was $1.7 million, and prior to that it was $1.2 million.
The Oracle founder gave up the CEO role in 2014 in favor of the executive chairman title. But Ellison’s security costs have stayed about the same. Oracle spends right around $1.5 million a year for security at Ellison’s residence. For co-CEO Mark Hurd, Oracle spent $103,550 last year, while Safra Catz, the other CEO, didn’t have any recorded security costs.
Salesforce pulled back slightly the security costs for its billionaire co-founder last year. In 2017, the company spent $1.3 million on “security arrangements provided for Mr. Benioff in addition to security arrangements provided while at work or on business travel,” down from $1.45 million in 2016.
Google’s co-founders Larry Page (also Alphabet’s CEO) and Sergey Brin each make $1 a year in salary and don’t have any other forms of compensation. With well over $50 billion in net worth each, they’re doing just fine. However, Alphabet did spend $683,557 last year on Google CEO Pichai, with 93 percent of that on security and the rest on “personal use of aircraft chartered by the company.”
The big money news about the Apple CEO this week is that he just received stock awards worth about $120 million for performance and for staying with the company. To keep Cook safe, Apple spent $224,216 on personal security last year and $93,109 on his personal air travel.
Qualcomm includes a number of items in its “all other compensation” bucket. The $291,871 the company spent last year on Chairman Jacobs included $152,999 on the personal use of corporate aircraft and the “remainder for other insurance premiums, personal security and home office costs.”
IBM said it spent $177,491 last year on CEO Rometty’s personal travel on corporate aircraft. There were additional costs associated with “personal security, annual executive physical, family attendance at business-related events, and other personal expenses.”