Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest Chief Executive Officers, is paid just $100,000 in annual salary, as some of the world's largest corporations are criticized for their top executives' extravagant pay packages.
Buffet's Annual Salary, Barring Stock Appreciation, Is Just 1.87 Times That of Median Employee's, Hasn't Moved in 25 Years
Billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, who manages Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s (BRK.A) $170 billion stock portfolio, has grown his company's market value at roughly 21% annual return rate in the period from 1965 to 2017, beating the S&P 500's 9.9% annual gain over the same five decades.
Berkshire reported in a securities filing on Friday that Buffett's annual compensation is just 1.87 times that of the median pay of its employees, which is $53,510. The calculation for pay-out ratios accounts for only actual pay, and not stock appreciation. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently required companies to disclose the ratio of CEO to median employee pay.
"Due to Mr. Buffett's and Mr. Munger's desire that their compensation remain unchanged, the Committee has not proposed an increase in Mr. Buffett's or Mr. Munger's compensation," Berkshire Hathaway said in the filing. Charlie Munger is Buffett's long-time business partner.
The filing also suggested that the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm's CEO is so frugal with the conglomerate's money that he reimbursed Berkshire $50,000 last year for personal expenses such as postage and phone calls.
"Mr. Buffett will on occasion utilize Berkshire personnel and/or have Berkshire pay for minor items such as postage or phone calls that are personal. Mr. Buffett reimburses Berkshire for these costs by making an annual payment to Berkshire in an amount that is equal to or greater than the costs that Berkshire has incurred on his behalf. During 2017, Mr. Buffett reimbursed Berkshire $50,000," the filing read.
The reimbursement is pocket change for Buffett, with a net worth just shy of $88 billion, making him the third richest person in the world behind Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Jeff Bezos at $131.1 billion and Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Bill Gates at $91 billion, according to Forbes. Apart from salary, Buffett can attribute a lion's share of his wealth to the billions of dollars he has invested in Berkshire stock. A 22% jump in BRK.A in 2017 grew Buffett's stake by a whopping $15.1 billion. Taking his stock gains into account, his compensation would skyrocket to 282,435 times that of the median pay of company employees.
The "Oracle of Omaha," one of the most successful and widely known investors in history, has pledged to give over 99% of his fortune to charity. Together with friend Bill Gates, he has launched an initiative called The Giving Pledge, which asks fellow billionaires to donate half of their wealth to charitable causes. So far, Buffett has donated about $32 billion.