Share story

When Northwest public company CEOs were ranked according to their actual take-home pay in fiscal year 2013, the compensation for Howard Schultz was — to borrow the term for the largest Starbucks cup — decidedly “trenta.”

The chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks took home $149.8 million during the company’s fiscal year that ended Sept. 29, according to data gathered for The Seattle Times by Equilar, an executive-compensation data firm.

The vast majority of that money, however, came from various stock grants and options awarded as long ago as 1992 that Schultz finally exercised last year, Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said. Schultz is known for holding onto his stock awards for years.

Starbucks’ board of directors pays Schultz mostly with stock because the shares commit the CEO to the long-term growth of the company, Hutson said.

Schultz is No. 1 among Northwest public company CEOs when they are ranked according to realized pay, which is a measure of salary, bonuses and — most important — of stock awards and options exercised that year.

Realized pay differs from the widely used “total pay” that companies publish in their annual proxy statements. Total pay measures the hypothetical value of stock awards and options in the year they are awarded, rather than the actual value when the equities are exercised, often years later.

Starbucks shareholders are comfortable with the company’s executive-pay package. Earlier this year, investors cast nearly 87 percent of their shares in favor of the pay plan in a say-on-pay vote.

The company’s performance certainly helps. Starbucks last year increased its total net revenue 12 percent to a record $14.9 billion. The company also sent $1.2 billion back to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buy backs.

Schultz, meanwhile, is not expected to run out of Starbucks shares anytime soon. He owns more than 18 million.

George Erb is a Seattle freelance writer.