GoPro Inc Founder Replaces Cheniere’s Souki As Highest-Paid CEO


GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman is all set to replace Cheniere Energy chief executive Charif Souki as the highest-paid CEO. According to the Bloomberg Pay Index, Woodman was granted 4.5 million restricted shares in June 2014 that were valued at $284.5 million at the end of last year. It makes him the highest-paid CEO among the U.S.-listed companies.

GoPro CEO Woodman

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GoPro CEO’s salary is ‘appropriate’

He would replace Houston-based Cheniere Energy’s Charif Souki, who had received a total compensation of $281 million in 2013. Cheniere has said that it would cut Souki’s compensation in 2014. JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna said that Woodman had been instrumental to GoPro’s success. So, his compensation is “appropriate” relative to what he means to the action camera maker.

GoPro and Cheniere both are yet to file their proxy statements for 2014 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nick Woodman’s stock award is currently worth $205.5 million as GoPro shares have declined about 30% year-to-date. The San Mateo-based company’s proxy statement is expected to show additional compensation including salary and perks.

According to the action camera maker’s November prospectus, 39-year old Woodman had received $800,000 in salary and $1 million of compensation in 2013. Woodman is the largest shareholder of the company he founded in 2004. His stake is currently worth $2.4 billion. About 1.5 million of his restricted shares were vested and settled in June 2014. The remaining 3 million shares vested in January this year.

Cheniere to cut Souki’s compensation

Cheniere’s Souki had received 6.3 million restricted stock units in February 2013, valued at $132.9 million at the time. He had also received an $800,000 salary, a $4.2 million incentive and a $3.68 million bonus. Last year, Cheniere shareholders had opposed the company’s executive compensation. They had also filed a lawsuit, which the company settled in March this year. The natural gas exporter agreed to cut Souki’s pay in 2014.

This year, Souki will take only $1 salary, though the company will use $1 million notional base salary to calculate his target, employee benefits and bonuses.

GoPro shares inched up 0.13% to $45.52 in pre-market trading Friday.