Blog Post

Proxy Watch: Bonuses For Microsoft Execs At Low End; Ballmer Takes Home $1.35 Million

After a mixed year that saw a failed attempt to acquire *Yahoo*, Microsoft’s (NSDQ: MSFT) top officers generally received bonuses at the low end of their expected range. CEO Steve Ballmer had a target bonus range of 100-200 percent of his base salary. Based on a combination of factors, his bonus ended up at 109 percent, or 700,000. In total, he received $1.35 million for the year. The company notes that this total is well below the peer group — it even notes that the board feels he’s underpaid — but given that he has billions worth of Microsoft stock in his account, he has plenty of incentive to see it do well.

How about Kevin Johnson, who left earlier this year for the top gig at Juniper? His bonus was based on “the successful integration of the aQuantive acquisition; the financial performance for the Client and the Online Services Business; and driving results on key strategies for digital advertising and online services.” It looks like he underperformed at his task, just slightly, as his bonus only came to 97 percent of his base salary, compared to a target range of 97-100 percent or $600,000. Unlike Ballmer, however, he also received stock awards, bringing his total to $6.8 million, down from $7.02 million a year ago.

Of course, the proxy includes the normal snowballs-chance proposals form shareholders. There’s the human rights one (establishing a human rights board) and one about giving money to groups like the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood and The Boy Scouts, all for the purpose of garnering “goodwill” and “plaudits” from those groups’ constituencies. Not surprisingly, the board is urging a no vote on both of those.