It’s proxy filing season for many of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, meaning the 2018 compensation information for some of tech’s prominent chief legal officers has arrived.
Legal department leaders from Tesla Inc., Facebook Inc. and Netflix Inc. didn’t make the named executive cut in their companies’ recently filed proxies. But Twitter and PayPal Holdings Inc.’s chief legal officers did. Each made more than $9 million in total compensation last year.
Louise Pentland, the executive vice president of business affairs and chief legal officer of PayPal, earned a total compensation of $9,516,978 in 2018, according to the San Jose, California-based company’s proxy filing. Much of that compensation is in stock options, $8,463,911.
“The tech industry is particularly noted for offering greater equity than most others and many executives are willing to trade off a lower salary for equity given the riches that others have attained in the sector,” said John Gilmore, co-founder and managing partner at consulting firm BarkerGilmore, in an email.
Pentland started last year with a salary of $713,942, nearly $100,000 more than her 2016 named base salary. She joined the company in 2015 as CLO. Her total cash compensation was $1,053,067, including salary plus $328,125 in nonequity incentives and $11,000 in “all other compensation.”
PayPal did not immediately respond to request for additional comment. But the fintech company did outline the performance factors determining Pentland’s compensation, accounting for 25 percent of her target incentive amount.
Pentland led PayPal’s legal, human resources, communications, government relations and social innovation functions, sparked diversity and inclusion efforts, and “organizational transformations,” according to the proxy filing. In terms of legal, she led “ongoing litigation strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and business matters.”
Twitter chief legal officer and secretary Vijaya Gadde made $11,799,901 in 2018 and, like Pentland, much of that came in the form of stock, according to the company’s proxy filing. Gadde’s compensation package included $11,298,824 in stock awards. Her total cash compensation included a $498,077 salary and $3,000 in “other compensation,” with no bonus.
In its proxy, Twitter stated its executives’ salaries “have remained below competitive market levels due to our desire to maintain internal pay equity between executive officers and other senior-level individuals,” but that the company began moving toward market competitive salaries in 2014. Gilmore said CLO compensation is rising in all industries especially as they “take on more responsibility outside of legal.”
Gadde became Twitter’s CLO in February 2018 after spending nearly five years as the San Francisco-based company’s general counsel, one year as head of communications and two years as director of legal. Twitter did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Both Twitter and PayPal have chief legal officers, Gadde and Pentland, as well as general counsel. The companies did not disclose their general counsel’s executive compensation information in their proxy filings.