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Apple, Google execs out-earn Samsung counterparts

The Korean electronics giant's entire executive team brings in less than individual executives at some US-based tech companies.

James Martin/CNET

Samsung might be a giant company with massive amounts of revenue, but that doesn't mean that its executives make massive amounts of money -- at least when compared to other executives in Silicon Valley.

The company revealed at its annual shareholder meeting last week that its leadership executive team, comprised of its three co-CEOs and CFO, collectively made 33.9 billion Korean won, about $31 million, during the company's 2013 fiscal year. Samsung went on to say that compared to competitors in the marketplace, it's far behind other companies, including Apple, which hit nearly $300 million in executive compensation during the 2012 fiscal year, and Google, which paid out well over $120 million in 2012.

To make matters worse for Samsung executives, many individuals at those larger companies were paid more than Samsung's entire executive team. For example, a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows that Apple's executive compensation was down somewhat in 2013, but in 2012 Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer was awarded nearly $69 million, Senior Vice President Eddy Cue was awarded over $50 million, and Operations Vice President Daniel Riccio was awarded nearly $69 million compensation.

Of course, for four people to earn $30 million, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it speaks to the difference between Samsung's compensation strategy and that of American-based companies. As Quartz, which earlier reported on the news, points out, Samsung executive compensation has been kept lower by cultural influence and corporate oversight. In fact, Korea has one of the lowest executive compensation levels in Asia. As Quartz notes, however, the US has watched executive compensation soar: it was up 876 percent between 1978 and 2011.