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Travel, security costs plunge for Google's Schmidt

Google CEO Eric Schmidt's 2009 compensation was cut in half after the company spent less on his security expenses and travel costs for Schmidt's friends and family on Google-owned jets.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt got the memo on Google's cost-cutting efforts in 2009.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Google CEO Eric Schmidt Google

Schmidt's 2009 compensation fell 52 percent as Google spent less on his personal security expenses and the cost of ferrying his friends and family around on Google jets. Schmidt's total compensation for 2009 was $245,322, almost all of which was related to security and travel expenses, according to Google's proxy statement released Tuesday.

Schmidt, like co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, receives just $1 a year in salary and does not receive stock options. However, he's entitled to the use of company jets and security measures, and in 2008 Google spent $508,764 on such expenses: $402,562 on personal security and $106,201 on Google jets. (Updated 2:07 p.m. PDT: To be sure, Schmidt is a major shareholder of Google with 9.5 percent of the company according to the proxy, making him a billionaire several times over.)

But Google attempted to put the brakes on its spending in 2009 amid an uncertain economic environment, led by CFO Patrick Pichette. Perhaps as a result, Schmidt's security expenses fell 42 percent to $233,542 and his travel expenses fell 90 percent to just $10,119.

Pichette was rewarded handsomely for his efforts in 2009, taking home a total of $24.7 million in salary, bonus, stock grants, and option awards.

Sales leader Nikesh Arora was the other big winner among named Google executives in the proxy filing, with total 2009 compensation of $26.3 million. Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research, and Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president for product management, were the other executives named on the list and each amassed about $15 million in compensation during 2009.

Brin and Page? They received just $1,661 and $2,300, respectively, in holiday bonuses that were paid to all Google employees. But with stock holdings of around $16 billion each, and having recently decided to begin selling Google shares in pre-arranged trading plans over the next five years, they'll probably find a way to get by.