Facebook’s top execs took home hefty bonuses in the second half of 2020, partially as a reward for the company’s ‘election integrity efforts’

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown University
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook executives got 110% bonuses in the second half of 2020, according to a new SEC filing.
  • The bonuses were partially tied to Facebook’s “election integrity” efforts.
  • CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t participate in the employee bonus program.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s two lieutenants got a big pay day for their work around last year’s election: COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Wehner got just shy of $1 million in bonus compensation for the second half of 2020.

Those bonuses, awarded at 110%, were at least partially tied to “election integrity efforts in connection with the U.S. 2020 elections,” according to an SEC filing from the company first spotted by The Information.

Ahead of the November 2020 elections, Facebook rolled out a number of measures intended to curb misinformation and promote voting.

The company added labels to all posts about voting that came from federal elected officials and candidates, it paused political ad buying for months, and opened an information center intended to inform users about voting laws. Those efforts were apparently considered a success if the bonus payouts are any indication.

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In the years following the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook struggled with how to moderate speech and advertising from politicians and political campaigns.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has remained steadfast in his argument that political advertising is equivalent to political speech, and that political speech shouldn’t be moderated by the social media giant.

“In a democracy it’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying so they can make their own judgments,” Zuckerberg said in a late 2019 interview with CBS This Morning cohost Gayle King. “I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.”

Following the 2020 US election, as former President Donald Trump repeatedly insisted that the election had been “stolen” and Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building, Facebook took the unprecedented step of outright banning Trump from its platforms.

“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg said in January. “The risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

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Apollo is offering some associates retention bonuses of up to $200,000 to stay on until 2022 after a year of insane hours and rapid-fire deals

Leon Black
Leon Black, who stepped down as CEO of Apollo Global Management on Monday.

  • Investment giant Apollo is offering some associates six-figure ‘retention’ bonuses in the wake of exits in New York City.
  • The bonuses range from $100,000 for first-years to $200,000 for third-years, according to two people briefed on the matter.
  • The bonuses will be paid in April and come with an agreement that associates stay until September 2022, these people said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investment giant Apollo Global Management is offering six-figure retention bonuses to some of its private-equity associates after several young executives quit the firm, Insider has learned.

Seven out of 30 New York City associates have left the firm in recent weeks, Insider previously reported. Current and former employees who spoke with Insider about the exodus described a relentless workload that has become even more intense during the pandemic as the firm – well-known for its distressed buying strategies – pounced on opportunities.

In an effort to stem the exits, Apollo has extended $100,000, $150,000, and $200,000 bonuses for first-year, second year, and third-year associates, respectively, to be paid in April, according to two people familiar with the matter. The bonuses come with the stipulation that associates stay with Apollo at least until September 2022.

And they come on top of pay packages that are already at the top of the market: First-year associates at Apollo receive a total of more than $450,000, according to these people, who declined to speak publicly to preserve their relationships at the firm.

Apollo executives Matt Nord and David Sambur, who co-lead the firm’s private equity group, have been making the offers to employees via phone calls, according to these sources.

Insider could not determine how widespread the bonuses were. One Apollo employee said several associates they had spoken with had not received the bonuses, meaning that the bonuses could have been offered to a select group of associates.

It could also mean that Apollo is in the early stages of rolling out the bonuses.

Joanna Rose, an Apollo spokeswoman, did not address the specific bonuses when asked, but said that the firm’s private-equity business has been and continues to be “extremely active,” putting more than $12 billion to work in the past year across a “diverse set of opportunities.”

“With recent wins such as Sun Country IPO, Diamond/HGV merger and Synnex/TechData merger, we continue to recognize the impact of our extraordinary teams,” she said.

The offers show how far one of the largest investment firms is willing to go to deal with a talent drain among its junior employees, who have grappled with burnout fueled by long-hours and remote work.

They come as concerns about associate morale have cropped up at financial services firms across Wall Street. Last week an internal presentation by 13 demoralized Goldman Sachs analysts described 100-hour work weeks and a mental and physical toll during COVID.

Firms have been taking steps to address the concerns, though no action has been as extreme as Apollo’s. Jefferies has offered Peloton bikes and other workout gear for junior staffers, while Goldman Sachs has vowed to improve conditions for junior bankers, though it has not yet said how.

The additional compensation will make associate jobs at Apollo – already one of the highest-paying entry points on Wall Street – even more lucrative. The typical starting salary of $450,000 for first-years comes with subsequent $100,000 raises annually; third-years can earn up to $725,000, according to these people.

The position offers a four-year career track to principal and, from there, partner – a position that typically earns millions of dollars annually.

Young executives are key to the private-equity group’s success, handling the grunt work of preparing presentations and analyses that higher executives use to evaluate and pursue deals.

The group has been active in recent months, buying a $1.2 billion stake with Silver Lake Partners in the travel website Expedia and a $1.75 billion interest in the grocery-store operator Albertsons. It also recently completed a $2.25 billion deal to control and operate the Venetian resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Apollo’s new CEO, Marc Rowan, has signaled that he prioritizes making Apollo a more enticing place to work. Rowan has said in recent weeks that one of his primary areas of focus will be to improve Apollo’s famously ruthless culture.

Apollo had previously stated that Rowan, a co-founder at the firm who is credited with building its expansive insurance business, would take over the chief executive role from Leon Black, the company’s chief founder, who would relinquish the role by his 70th birthday in July.

In a surprise announcement on Monday, the firm stated that Black would step down immediately and also vacate his role as chairman of Apollo’s board, a position he had previously intended to keep. The firm’s announcement cited health issues as a reason for Black’s change of plans.

Black’s departure followed revelations in an investigation commissioned by Apollo and released at the beginning of the year that he had paid the convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, $158 million for tax and business services.

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Warren Buffett’s annual salary has been $100,000 for 40 years. Here’s a look at the billionaire investor’s unique compensation.

warren buffett
Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett’s annual salary has been $100,000 for the past 40 years.
  • Berkshire Hathaway spends triple that amount on his security each year.
  • Buffett owns about $100 billion of Berkshire stock and lives modestly.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Warren Buffett is a legendary investor, leads one of the world’s biggest companies, and has ranked among the world’s wealthiest people for decades. Yet he earns a modest annual salary of $100,000 – and hasn’t had a pay rise in 40 years, SEC filings show.

As Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO and chairman, Buffett recommends to his board of directors how much he should be paid, and decides the the rest of the executives’ compensation. The 90-year-old has received $100,000 a year since 1980 – a fraction of the $15 million average pay of S&P 500 CEOs in 2019.

Buffett doesn’t earn much from other sources either. He netted double his salary in annual directors’ fees in the 1990s and early 2000s, before he resigned as a director of The Washington Post Company and stepped down from other corporate boards.

The highest total compensation he’s ever received at Berkshire was $525,000 in 2010, comprising his $100,000 salary, $75,000 in directors’ fees, and $350,000 allocated to his security costs.

Berkshire spends far more on Buffett’s personal and home security than it pays him directly. Keeping the boss safe has cost the company an average of $339,000 a year since 2008, or $4.4 million in total.

Buffett isn’t in desperate need of a big salary. He owns roughly $100 billion of Berkshire stock – which he’s gradually giving away – and doesn’t spend much: he lives in a modest family home, drives a basic car, and eats breakfast at McDonald’s.

The investor also doesn’t use a company car, belong to any clubs where Berkshire pays his dues, or commandeer company-owned aircraft for his personal use.

Buffett shared his views on salaries at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in 2017, when he was asked how much his successor would be paid. He expressed hope that the next CEO would already be rich, and wouldn’t be motivated to earn 10 or 100 times the money their family needs to live on.

“They might even wish to, perhaps, set an example by engaging for something far lower than, actually, what you can say their true market value is,” he continued, adding it would be “terrific” if that was the case.

Buffett is a firm believer that CEOs should be incentivized to deliver long-term success for their companies. He believes massive annual salaries, bonuses, and short-term stock options encourage short-term thinking.

Charlie Munger – Buffett’s right-hand-man and Berkshire’s vice-chairman – has followed Buffett’s example. He’s also received a salary of $100,000 a year for several decades now, SEC filings show.

In contrast, Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, who head up Berkshire’s insurance and non-insurance divisions respectively, are paid far more handsomely. Both men have earned a $16 million salary in each of the past of three years, plus total bonuses of $7 million each.

Finally, Berkshire’s finance chief, Marc Hamburg, has seen his salary grow from about $300,000 in 1996 to $3.3 million last year.

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