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Google employees compare Sundar Pichai to ‘Shrek’ villain after CEO’s $226M payday amid layoffs: report

Google employees are reportedly grumbling about CEO Sundar Pichai’s massive salary — amid a wave of 12,000 layoffs and cuts to office perks — with some comparing the tech tycoon to the imperious villain in “Shrek.”

Pichai’s $226 million windfall last year prompted the wave of criticism since the disclosure on the search giant’s internal messaging system, according to CNBC, which viewed “more than a dozen memes” about the issue – some of which have received “several hundred likes.”

One popular meme portrays Pichai as the vertically-challenged Lord Farquaad — the ruthless ruler of Duloc who seeks to steal Fiona from the green ogre — and includes a quote from the animated-movie character: “Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.”

“Sundar accepting $226 million while laying off 12k Googlers, cutting perks, and destroying morale and culture,” the meme’s caption reportedly said, according to CNBC.

Another post took aim at Google CFO Ruth Porat, who sent out an internal memo in March detailing a sweeping cost-cutting push at the company – including the elimination of some of its famous “micro-kitchens” and trimmed spending on company-provided equipment such as personal laptops.

“Ruth’s cost savings applied to everyone… except our hardworking VPS and CEO,” the meme reportedly said.

One meme mockingly compared Sundar Pichai to Lord Farquaad from Shrek.

Other criticism reportedly centered around Google’s announcement last week that its board had approved $70 billion in share repurchases despite its moves to slash budget costs.

Google declined to comment.

Last month, Google disclosed that Pichai, 50, earned $226 million in total compensation in 2022. His pay was more than 800 times higher than Google’s median employee, and an increase from his $6.3 million in 2021 earnings.

At the end of 2022, Google gave Pichai a triannual stock award valued at $210 million, with grants tied to the company’s performance as well as time-based equity, according to a company filing. The company increased the proportion of units that are based on performance to 60% of the payout, up from 43%.

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai earned $226 million last year.
Getty Images for Vox Media

The $210 million triannual stock award was worth about 23% less than the package that Pichai received three years ago.

In January, Google laid off about 12,000 employees, or roughly 6% of its overall workforce, as part of the companywide belt-tightening effort.

Google laid off 12,000 staffers earlier this year.
Getty Images

At the time, Pichai said he took “full responsibility” for the cuts, which he framed as necessary to ensure that Google could weather a worsening economic landscape and make investments in artificial intelligence technology.

The latest discord emerged as Google contends with the fallout from its job cuts. Workers in New York, California, London and other locations have staged protests over the company’s handling of the layoffs.

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