Here are 10 corporate chiefs whose regular paychecks could be smaller than yours.

1. John Mackey of Whole Foods

John Mackey
Brainstorm Health / Flickr
John Mackey

Salary: $1

For more than a decade, the CEO and founder of organic grocery giant Whole Foods has opted to accept the meager salary of $1.

Mackey has said he's made enough income from the company to sustain himself. He told employees in a 2007 letter that he wanted to work not for money but "simply for the joy of the work itself."

Even so, he made an estimated $8 million from Whole Foods' 2017 takeover by Amazon.

2. Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp

Jeremy Stoppelman
JD Lasica / Flickr
Jeremy Stoppelma

Salary: $1

In years past, Yelp's founder made a normal salary. But Stoppelman cut his pay to $1 in 2013, around the time the reviews website posted a more than $5 million quarterly loss.

Though Yelp is profitable these days, Stoppelman continues to take his small salary. Still, his compensation package would undoubtedly be rated five stars.

He received more than $10 million from his company for 2017. Most of that was in the form of stock options.

3. Kosta Kartsotis of Fossil

Fossil store in Singapore
TY Lim / Shutterstock
A Fossil store in Singapore

Salary: $0

Fossil's famously camera-shy CEO hasn't taken a salary or other compensation from the fashion watches brand in over 10 years.

But Kartsotis owns a major stake in the company and in 2017 sold more than a third of his stock, reported.

Fossil was founded by his brother, Tom Kartsotis. The company was named after the brothers' nickname for their father.

4. Jack Dorsey of Square and Twitter

Jack Dorsey accepting an award at the 5th Annual Crunchies Awards, 2012
TechCrunch / Flickr
Jack Dorsey at the 5th Annual Crunchies Awards, 2012

Salary: $2.75

Jack Dorsey is one of several tech giants who would seem to be working for mere pocket change.

He takes home a symbolic $2.75 a year from Square, which is the same amount that the company charges customers to accept a $100 credit or debit card payment on their phones.

Officially, he’s also paid $0 by Twitter. But that company reported in April 2018 that Dorsey owned 18 million shares of its stock — which in recent months has traded as high as the neighborhood of $50 — so he’s not exactly hurting.

5. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg at the G8/G20 summit about new technologies
Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock
Mark Zuckerberg at the G8/G20 summit

Salary: $1

Zuckerberg cut his salary down to $1 in 2013 — although he still makes a bundle through his investments and doesn't lack for spending money.

Why did he take the cut? During an online Q&A in 2015, Zuckerberg answered, "I've made enough money."

He's one of the world's wealthiest people and was briefly worth more than Warren Buffett before scandals over privacy and security hurt the value of Facebook's stock.

6. Evan Spiegel of Snap

Evan Spiegel
TechCrunch / Flickr
Evan Spiegel

Salary: $1

Snap Inc. is more than just Snapchat these days: The company also owns Bitmoji, Spectacles and Zenly.

Despite the wild success of the business, some stock market gurus have doubts about its long-term success. That's because Snap is dependent on potentially fickle social media users.

To give investors a confidence boost, Spiegel slashed his $500,000 salary down to a single dollar at the company's initial public offering. He owns about 18% of the stock.

7. Larry Page of Alphabet

Larry Page at the Fortune Global Forum, 2015
Fortune Global Forum / Flickr
Larry Page at the Fortune Global Forum, 2015

Salary: $1

Page is one of the co-founders of Alphabet, the parent company of Google and the other internet giants under its umbrella, including YouTube.

He has taken an annual salary of just $1 for well over a decade.

But Page also owns tens of millions of Alphabet shares and is one of the 10 richest people in the world, according to Forbes.

8. Richard Hayne of Urban Outfitters

An Urban Outfitters store in London, UK
mubus7 / Shutterstock
An Urban Outfitters store in London, UK

Salary: $1

The CEO of the clothing and home goods chain Urban Outfitters dropped his salary back to a buck in 2009.

But Hayne receives other compensation, including a bonus, and life and auto insurance.

He also owns 15.5% of the company's stock, or nearly 17 million shares, according to a filing with federal securities regulators.

9. Edward Lampert of Sears

A Sears store, in better days
digitalreflections / Shutterstock
A Sears store seeing better days

Salary: $1

Lampert has been at the helm through the sad downward spiral of Sears Holdings, the parent company of the rapidly vanishing Sears and Kmart stores.

"Nobody did more to destroy the company than Lampert," said Forbes, which also called him "perhaps the worst retailer in history."

Lampert is now chairman but was also CEO until the company's recent bankruptcy filing. As CEO, he was earning a base salary of $1 — while Sears' stock price dropped even lower than that.

10. Elon Musk of Tesla

Elon Musk gives an interview at TED 2017
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr
Elon Musk gives an interview at TED 2017

Salary: Around $37,000

Musk built the luxury electric car company Tesla from the ground up with his own blood, sweat, tears and money. But he's paid only a token salary based on California's minimum wage.

The CEO told The New York Times he doesn't cash the checks, so the money is just building up in some Tesla account.

Here's why Musk is so casual about his salary: Tesla shareholders have approved a plan that could compensate him with up to $55 billion in stock if the company meets a series of lofty business goals.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman


Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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