Roblox stock is down 30% since its IPO, but its CEO just got a $233 million pay package. He’s not the only CEO in the $200 million club
After a late 2021 surge to over $130 per share, Roblox stock has taken a dive in recent months. The gaming platform is now down roughly 30% from its March 2021 initial public offering price to around $48 per share.
Poor stock performance didn’t stop the board from rewarding CEO and founder David Baszucki with a hefty compensation package for his work in 2021, however.
The CEO locked in a total pay package worth some $232.8 million for the year. That’s roughly 1,680 times the average annual pay of a Roblox employee, according to a Fortune analysis of Payscale data.
Most of Baszucki’s pay comes from long-term incentives tied to stock performance, and the Roblox founder won’t receive any other direct payments through 2027, but compared with his 2020 pay package of $6.8 million, 2021 was definitely a career year.
The $200 million club
Baszucki wasn’t the only Wall Street CEO to see his total compensation surpass the $200 million mark this year.
Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, raked in total compensation of $246 million in 2021, while Amazon’s Andy Jassy was rewarded with a $212 million total pay package for his efforts. And Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is set to receive roughly $200 million in total compensation for his work last year, even as 50 employees were laid off from the gaming company.
The median pay for U.S. CEOs is on pace to set a record in 2021, rising an incredible 19% year over year. That’s compared with a paltry 4.7% increase in average hourly earnings for Americans last year. Even worse, average Americans watched their real wages—wages adjusted for inflation—decline 2.6% in February compared with a year ago.
Meanwhile, nearly one-third of CEOs saw their pay packages increase by at least 25% last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of MyLogIQ data, and only around a quarter of CEOs took a pay cut in 2021 amid the pandemic.
Whenever CEO pay is discussed, there is typically a caveat that comes up. Unlike average workers who receive most of their pay in the form of a salary, CEO pay is based largely on so-called incentive pay, which grants stock options to executives based on the completion of performance goals. In short, this means if CEOs are able to get their companies’ share prices above the figures listed in their contracts, then they get paid out.
In 2021, there was a 73% jump in the annual incentive payout for CEOs, and approximately 90% of companies provided an incentive payout that was at or above the target set out in their CEOs’ contract, a Compensation Advisory Partners CEO pay study shows. On top of that, the median incentive payout in 2021 was 145% of the target pay laid out in contracts, which means many CEOs may be receiving even more than what’s reported.
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