February 22, 2005 10:04 AM PST

New bonuses for Google execs up to $3 million

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Search giant Google launched a new bonus program that could pay its senior executives as much as $3 million each this year if the company meets its financial goals.

In a document filed Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Google offered details of its 2005 senior-executive bonus plan. The company said in the filing that it created the variable cash incentive program to motivate participants to achieve the company's financial and other performance objectives, and to reward them for their achievements when those objectives are met.

Google said the bonus plan will be tendered to all of its executive officers except for co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and chief executive Eric Schmidt. However, those three top executives are known to be riding the company's wave of success to financial security. As beneficiaries of Google's unorthodox 2004 initial public offering, Schmidt recently sold 113,000 shares of the company's stock for about $22 million, while Brin sold 200,000 shares for about $40 million.

According to the SEC filing, Google will target the executive bonuses based on an individual's salary and the achievement of certain performance objectives tailored to the person's role in the company. The executive payouts will also be tied to Google's annual revenue and operating profit.

It's estimated that Google's IPO created roughly 1,000 new millionaires, at least on paper. The company's financial laundry was recently aired in a separate SEC filing that detailed everything from the multimillion-dollar stock sales of its founders down to the stock-related dealings of its rank and file employees.

Typically, only executive officers or directors of a company must file their trades with the SEC, allowing most employees to buy and sell their stock anonymously, but Google had so many people cash in $1 million worth of shares, surpassing the SEC's so-called rule 71 exemption, that it was required to report the information.

Tabbed by experts as one of the best companies to work for in the technology industry, Google has successfully lured a number of high-profile tech executives over the last year. They include Adam Bosworth, a former employee of BEA Systems and Microsoft who helped create Internet Explorer, and Joe Beda, a Microsoft veteran who's worked on the software giant's next-generation graphics engine, Avalon.

The company also brought on Joshua Bloch, a Sun Microsystems developer who has designed major enhancements to the Java programming language and application programming interfaces, or APIs.


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