November 11, 2018,   11:20 AM

The $1 CEOs: Executives Drawing $1 As Salary

Jason Lasardo

I along with my team make the rankings and lists at Forbes Middle East, we collect and collate... FULL BIO

the 1 ceos executives drawing 1 as salary

Chief executives or CEOs are known to be the highest paid people with the company’s performance tied to their remuneration packages. But many top executives choose to forego high fixed salaries, preferring performance-based incentives such as bonuses and stock options if targets are achieved.

Meanwhile others have huge fortunes tied up in their companies, making a salary irrelevant since they will profit in billions if the company does well, compared to the paltry millions a typical CEO earns. Here are the CEOs who have drawn a salary of $1 or nothing.

Steve Jobs

CEO, Apple


Steve Jobs sparked off the trend of $1 salary in Silicon Valley. When Jobs returned to a then struggling Apple as CEO in 1997 after a twelve-year absence, taking a $1 salary was a way of being considerate of the company’s financial condition. Jobs held a significant amount of Apple
shares and knew that he would be handsomely compensated if he could return Apple to profitability.

Donald Trump

President, United States of America

2016- Present

While campaigning, U.S. President Donald Trump stated that he would accept no salary if elected. The billionaire, who has amassed most of his fortunes though real estate, has remained true to that declaration so far. Trump donated the entirety of his first quarter earnings to the National Park Service, a federal government organization in the U.S. that manages parks, monuments and other properties.

Vikram Pandit

CEO, Citigroup


As the financial world collapsed in 2009, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit took a decision to accept $1 salary, a step down from $1 million he was drawing earlier. The move was to help the bank cope with losses it incurred in the financial meltdown. In January 2011, after working for $1 for two years, Pandit’s annual base salary was raised to $1.75 million for the progress Citi made under his leadership.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin


2015- Present

The co-founders of Google have not taken a salary from the company ever since it went public. While Google’s current CEO Sundar Pichai draws a salary of $1.3 billion, Page and Brin are together worth over $100 billion thanks to the shares that they own in Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

Larry Ellison

Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer


Larry Ellison earns $1 salary but there are reports that he earns $41 million in bonus and stock options. Though he gave up the position of CEO in 2014 he still serves as chairman of the board and chief technology officer. Oracle’s new Co-CEO’s Mark Hurd and Safra Catz are among the highest paid CEOs in the world with about $ 41 million in salaries.

Mark Zuckerberg

CEO and co-founder, Facebook


Social media network Facebook’s CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg draws a paltry salary of $1 but his motivation to work is his 17% stake in Facebook, worth nearly $57.6 billion. His fortune is closely tied to his companies, with his wealth swelling when Facebook declares dividends. In December 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged to give away 99% of their shares in Facebook over their lifetimes.

Jeremy Stoppelman

CEO and co-founder, Yelp


Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman also takes home a salary of $1, but he is far from poor. His remuneration comes from the shares that he owns in the company. Though he does not get a salary, he has a sizeable amount of stock options.

Evan Spiegel

CEO and co-founder, Snapchat Inc


When Snap went public in 2017, its founder Evan Spiegel who is valued at $1.7 billion by Forbes decided to draw just $1 as salary. This is seen as a vote of confidence in the company in which he owns an 18% stake. He will profit greatly if the share prices of his company increase.

Elon Musk

Founder of SpaceX, 2002-Present

CEO and founder of Tesla, 2003-Present

Tesla’s CEO and founder Elon Musk is worth nearly $20 billion but takes home only about $45,000 as salary. He is paid this amount on paper since California’s law stipulates that the minimum wage of $45,000 should be given. However, Musk has never cashed these cheques that essentially puts him in the list of CEOs giving up their salaries.



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