Lots of perks in Meta’s proxy

Yesterday, Meta Platforms, the parent company for Facebook, Instagram, among others, announced yet another big layoff. This time, it was 4,000 jobs. In mid-March, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees to expect 10,000 job cuts and another 5,000 positions that would remain unfilled. Back in November, 11,000 jobs were cut, or roughly 13% of the staff. That’s a lot of cutting over a relatively short period.

But here’s one place that Meta has not cut: the perks and benefits for top executives, including Zuckerberg. Late last Friday, three days before the most current layoffs were announced, the company filed its annual proxy statement, which showed that while Zuckerberg famously continues to make $1 a year in salary, his “all other compensation” rose to $27.1m in 2022. Just about half of that is for “costs related to personal security for Mr. Zuckerberg at his residences and during personal travel pursuant to Mr. Zuckerberg’s overall security program”. The company also provides him with an additional $10m to cover personal security and there was another $2.2m for personal use of the aircraft.

To be fair, Zuckerberg probably does face plenty of security threats and you can make a legitimate argument that this is a business expense because if something were to happen to him or his family, it would have an impact on the business. Still, the size of this expense and the fact that it continues to grow steadily year over year, at a time of large-scale layoffs, comes across as tone-death, if nothing else.

He wasn’t the only executive with large amounts of “other compensation”. COO Chris Cox saw his personal security costs nearly double to $2.2m. Former COO Sheryl Sandberg spent nearly twice as much on personal jet usage in 2022 than she did in 2021. The largesse even extended to Meta’s board, with the company spending $1.7m on director Peggy Alford’s security costs. That amount included a nearly $1m gross-up for taxes. It’s not clear from the proxy how much of the other executives spending was related to tax gross-ups, but if they’re doing this for a director, the number probably isn’t zero.

Add all of this up and you’re at nearly $50m in various perks. Would that move the needle at Meta? Probably not. But spending this way in the face of massive layoffs sends the wrong message to those who were laid off and those that remain.

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