Stock awards figure heavily in the pay packages of the Pacific Northwest’s five top-earning CEOs — but none compares to Dara Khosrowshahi’s big block of Expedia options.

Share story

Talk about a big payday.

Bellevue-based Expedia last year awarded CEO Dara Khosrowshahi a $94.6 million pay package that exceeded the pay of his counterparts at T-Mobile US, Starbucks, Microsoft and Zillow — combined.

Pay for the top executives of those four public companies added up to $79.7 million in 2015. Khosrowshahi’s compensation topped that combined amount by $14.8 million.

As a result, Khosrowshahi was the highest-paid public-company CEO not just in the Northwest last year, but in the entire country, according to Equilar, an executive-pay research firm based in Redwood City, Calif.

Expedia’s board of directors did not merely shower the chief executive in cash, however. Ninety-six percent of Khosrowshahi’s compensation — or $90.8 million — was in the form of stock options that vest in phases by 2022, regulatory filings show.

One block of options worth an estimated $7.2 million vests in four stages between now and 2022.

Another block of options, worth about $53 million, vests in two stages between now and 2020, provided that Khosrowshahi stays with the company.

Component post 10054283 could not be found.

A third block of options valued at $30.3 million vests only if Expedia’s stock price hits $170 a share within 12 months of September 2020. Earlier this month, the company’s stock was trading for about $107 a share. Expedia’s share values would have to climb 58 percent to hit the target price.

Khosrowshahi is not expected to receive any more stock compensation until 2020, the company said.

The remaining $3.7 million of Khosrowshahi’s pay came in the form of cash salary, bonus payments and 401(k) contributions, filings show.

Even though his pay package stretched seven years into the future, the company had to report all of it in 2015 because of disclosure and accounting rules.

Stock is key

Boards of directors are increasingly paying CEOs with stock awards because directors and investors alike see stock compensation as a way to align the objectives of chief executives and shareholders.

Median stock pay for S&P 500 CEOs in five years jumped 56 percent to $5.1 million in 2015, Equilar data show. Among Northwest public-company CEOs, stock awards increased 50.8 percent to $1.3 million during the same time frame.

Stock figures heavily in the pay packages for the Northwest’s highest-paid executives.

Wireless company T-Mobile’s pay package for President and CEO John Legere added up to $24.4 million, making him the second-highest paid public-company executive last year.

Fifty-six percent, or $13.6 million, of Legere’s compensation was in the form of stock.

Coming in at No. 3 was Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, who regularly occupies a spot in the top five. Last year the company paid Schultz $20 million; 71 percent was either stock or option awards.

A long-term stock package worth an estimated $79.9 million propelled Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to the top of the list in 2014. He returned in 2015 with a total pay package of $18.2 million, which was good enough for No. 4. Stock awards accounted for nearly 70 percent of his pay.

Rounding out the top five was Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. His total pay was $16.8 million, but 96 percent of it was stock options.

Of the Northwest’s 107 public-company CEOs, 82 percent received some kind of stock compensation last year.