Google boss becomes highest-paid in US with £138M deal

The sum is more than the company recently agreed to pay the government in back taxes.

The BBC reports that the deal makes him the highest-paid chief executive in the US.

But it is still short of the fortunes amassed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who are worth $34.6bn and $33.9bn, according to Forbes.

Mr Pichai became chief executive of the search engine giant following its reorganisation and the creation of its parent company, Alphabet.

The filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission shows Mr Pichai was awarded 273,328 Class C Alphabet shares on 3 February, worth a total of $199m.

At the same time, he sold sold 375 Class A shares at $786.28 each, as well as 3,625 Class C shares at a price of $768.84 each.

The new shares award takes Mr Pichai’s total stock value to approximately $650m.

Mr Pichai’s share award will vest incrementally each quarter until 2019. In other words, full control over the shares will pass to him on a gradual basis.

It comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of Google’s tax affairs, following the company’s deal with HM Revenue & Customs to pay back taxes dating from 2005.

The controversial tax deal was labelled derisory by Labour. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called for greater transparency, saying it looked like a “sweetheart deal”.

“HMRC seems to have settled for a relatively small amount in comparison with the overall profits that are made by the company in this country. And some of the independent analysts have argued that it should be at least 10 times this amount,” he said.

Critics say Google generated sales of £24bn ($34.6bn) in the UK between 2005 and 2014, with an estimated profit of about £7.2bn each year on those sales.

Last week, Alphabet – Google’s parent company – surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable firm after it reported a profit of $4.9bn (£3.4bn) in the three months to the end of December, an increase from $4.7bn a year ago.

On an annual basis, Alphabet made $16.3bn, but the figures showed that the “Other Bets” business lost $3.6bn during the period, while Google’s operating income rose to $23.4bn, as online advertising increased.