Former Apple Board of Directors member and current Google CEO Eric Schmidt wasn’t paid for his time at Cupertino. This despite Apple’s habitual practice of offering stock options and a $50,000 retainer to Board members, both of which Schmidt declined during his tenure.
Instead, like other board members, Schmidt settled for some awesome Apple gear in exchange for his contribution to the board. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and BusinessWeek, the Google CEO accepted $8,712 worth of goods, though no specific breakdown of what sort of hardware that number actually represents has been reported.
We do know that board members are entitled to one of each new Apple product released while they’re an active member, and that they receive additional hardware discounts over and above that. Thanks to this sweet deal, Al Gore took home $13,161 and Arthur Levinson $8,923. I’ll bet a hefty portion of those numbers actually accounts for Apple’s ridiculously over-priced customization options.
Apple board members are also allowed up to 30,000 of company stock, with an option to buy up to 10,000 more per year. Schmidt passed up the opportunity, however, choosing instead to buy 10,000 shares on the open market with his own money in 2006.
Schmidt also received a mystery “commemorative gift” valued at $7,580. Many other Apple execs received similar gifts, including COO Tim Cook, but details about what exactly was gifted remain unknown. A MacBook Pro with the Apple logo on the lid replaced with an etched likeness of the giftee’s face, perhaps? Whatever it was, I’m fairly sure I want one.
Turning down the lucrative extras that come along with being a high-ranked tech executive has become Schmidt’s M.O., so it’s not really surprising to find that he was working at Apple for comped hardware. At Google, he famously only receives a $1 per year salary, and in recent years has been turning down stock option perks from the search giant as well.
If nothing else, the FTC’s investigation into the close links between Apple and Google should pull back the curtain and provide more revelatory looks into the inner workings of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players. Schmidt recently stepped down from the Apple board amid accusations that the two companies were too closely involved with one another, and involved in a relationship that could potentially be construed as a non-competitive arrangement. Google and Apple still share a common board member, however, as Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, is still a sitting member of both.