Employee confidence in Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his leadership team is reportedly at a six-year low (GOOGL, GOOG)

sundar pichai google ceo congress hearingGoogle CEO Sundar PichaiAlex Wong/Getty Images
  • Employee in Google’s leadership is sinking. 
  • 74% of Google employees gave a positive response when asked if they are confident that CEO Sundar Pichai and his management team can “effectively lead in the future,” according to an internal survey reported by Wired
  • The result was 18% lower than the 92% “positive” response Pichai and his team received in 2017, and the lowest it’s been in six years. 
  • Employee satisfaction with compensation also dropped from 64% in 2017 to 54% in 2018. 
  • The declining numbers surfaced amid a year for Google that was full of employee discontent and protest. 

Confidence in Google’s leadership is sinking. 

According to an internal survey reported by Wired, 74% of Google employees responded “positive” when asked if they are confident that CEO Sundar Pichai and his management team can “effectively lead in the future.” The remaining employees responded either “neutral” or “negative.” 

That 74% “positive” response in the 2018 survey — which is known internally as Googlegeist — is down from 92% just one year prior. According to Wired, the 18% downturn put employee confidence in Google’s leadership at a six-year low. 

Employee satisfaction with compensation also took a hit in 2018, according to the report. The survey showed 54% of employees were pleased with their pay, as opposed to 64% the previous year. (Google’s median pay is $197,000, which is the second-highest only to Facebook amongst major tech companies.)

Read more: Google challenged federal protections for activist workers three weeks after mass employee walkouts, but the company says it’s unrelated

These declining numbers could help explain why an internal HR presentation from 2016 — which floated ideas for cost-cutting initiatives — went viral amongst Google employees over the past few weeks, the report suggests. 

The presentation, which was first reported by Bloomberg, proposed plans which included promoting fewer people, converting full-time employees to contractors, and making sure the company was paying benefits “(only) for the right people.” These more drastic suggestions were not implemented, though some ideas, like getting rid of the employee holiday gift in favor of a charitable donation, did come to pass.

At an all-hands meeting to discuss compensation, Pichai and Prasad Setty, Google’s vice president of people operations, apologized for the presentation, according to Wired.

Pichai told employees he had never seen the document and would have rejected the controversial suggestion of cutting promotions by 2% had it crossed his desk. According to reports, employees were pleased with Pichai’s response, and the chief exec was praised on internal messaging systems after the meeting. 

Still, the sharp decline in confidence and satisfaction from Googlegeist survey should come as a concern for Pichai and his team, as it comes amid a year full of employee discontent and protest. 

In June, about a dozen Google employees resigned in protest over the company’s contract to provide artificial intelligence technology to the Pentagon. And in November, 20,000 employees around the world walked out to protest the company’s handling of executive sexual misconduct cases. 

Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. 

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New Intel CEO Bob Swan could make $138 million in salary and stock compensation if the company hits its most ambitious targets (INTC)

Intel handed the CEO reins to Bob Swan this week, ending a six month search to fill the top job that Swan had initially, according to reports, said he wasn’t interested in.

It’s unclear what prompted the change of heart. But a close look at Swan’s compensation package probably didn’t hurt.

Swan, who previously served as Intel’s head of fiance, is receiving a massive compensation package for his new gig— although much of it is tied to company performance. We did some napkin math to speculate on how much Swan could make, in an absolute best-case scenario, from the pay package granted to him at the time of taking the new job. And it comes out to a staggering $138.3 million.

In his new role, Swan will receive an annual compensation package valued at about $20 million. In comparison, the median annual compensation for the CEOs 500 largest U.S. traded companies is $11.9 million, according to data from Equilar.

The compensation package in question includes $1.25 million in base salary, $3.4 million in cash bonuses, and $15.5 million in equity awards. 80% of those equity awards are tied to the company’s performance, and the remainder will come to him over time. He’ll also get an additional one-time payout of $2.7 million for his time as interim CEO.

Importantly, the $3.4 million bonus figure isn’t set in stone. Rather, it’s a target number, set at 275% of his base salary. Under Intel’s Executive Officer Incentive Plan, that rate could go up a little bit, depending on the company’s performance: From 2013 to 2017, the CEO of Intel saw an average bonus of 3% over the original target, according to analysis by Equilar. If that pattern holds, Swan will get $3.54 million, instead of the quoted $3.4 million.

In 2017, the last full year that Intel had a CEO, however, the bonus came out 16% ahead of targets. If Intel hits its marks in 2019 to the same degree, Swan’s bonus will be nearly $4 million.

Besides this cash bonus, Swan will receive a one-time payout of $13 million in stock units, which will vest on the second and third anniversaries of stepping into the CEO role.

Intel’s stock is well above its historical level over the past several years
Yahoo Finance

He’s also getting a target 450,000 Intel stock units, worth some $32.1 million based on estimates from Equilar, which will vest over 5 years — but he only gets this amount of shares if Intel’s stock prices rise 50%. If Intel’s stock price sees a 100% increase at some point over the next five years, Swan will be eligible to get 900,000 shares, instead.

So, assuming that Intel’s stock does see a 100% increase, from $47.54 on Wednesday to $95.08 at some point, and Swan gets his 900,000 shares, this equity grant would be valued at some $85.6 million, according to Equilar.

Intel’s stock was trading 18% below its 52-week high at Thursday’s closing price, so there’s room for growth. That said, Intel’s stock is way up from its historical range over the past five years.

If everything goes right, Intel’s new CEO will get a stunning windfall

Swan also has the option to purchase 1.8 million Intel shares at Friday’s closing price — but only if the stock prices increased by 30% going forward. Equilar estimates the value of those options to be $16.3 million.

Read more:New Intel CEO Bob Swan will make as much as $4.68 million a year in salary and bonuses — and he’s eligible for $28.5 million or more in stock awards

The bottom line: If you assume that Swan gets his salary, his $3.4 million bonus, the target 450,000 shares granted, and that he purchases all 1.8 million Intel shares, the package would be worth an estimated $84.3 million — though that could change depending on the price of Intel stock, since each share would be worth more or less.

But if you assume everything goes really right, and that his bonus is 16% higher than the target and that he earns 900,000 shares instead of 450,000, this package could come out to $138.3 million. That would go up even higher, depending on the bonus amount awarded to him by the board, and just how high Intel’s stock price would get.

Of course, that hinges on Intel hitting all of its most ambitious targets, so Swan has his work cut out for him.

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Tesla is shutting down its popular referral program — and some owners are not happy about it (TSLA)

elon muskTesla CEO Elon Musk.Mark Brake / Getty Images
  • Tesla will end its owner referral program on Friday, February 1.
  • The referral program has allowed Tesla owners to receive rewards based on the number of customers who use their referral code when buying a Tesla vehicle.
  • Some Twitter users and members of Tesla’s online owner forums expressed disappointment that the automaker is ending the program.
  • Others defended the move.

Some Tesla customers are expressing disappointment as the automaker’s referral program nears its end.

The referral program has allowed Tesla owners to receive rewards based on the number of customers who use their referral code when buying a Tesla vehicle. The rewards have changed over time, but the most recent ones included a home charging unit and the ability to receive software updates before other owners.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on January 16 that the referral program would end on February 1 due to its impact on Tesla’s finances. He added that the automaker would not replace its current referral program with a new one.

“It’s adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3,” he said.

Read more: There are only 2 things you need to know about Tesla’s upcoming earnings

The move comes as Tesla seeks to prove it can become consistently profitable. The automaker posted just the third quarterly profit in its 16-year history during the third quarter fo 2018, and Musk has said the automaker’s initial accounting indicates that it had also made a GAAP profit during the fourth quarter, though a smaller one than in the third quarter. But in a January email to employees announcing layoffs that would affect 7% of Tesla’s workforce, he said the automaker faces significant challenges as it seeks to introduce lower-priced vehicles like the long-awaited $35,000 version of the Model 3 sedan.

“The road ahead is very difficult,” Musk said.

Some Twitter users and members of Tesla’s online owner forums expressed disappointment that the automaker is ending its referral program

“Bad move. Do you plan to spend millions on classic advertising now? The referral bonus was a nice gesture to the enthusiastic Tesla drivers which spend countless hours educating potential new Tesla customers,” one Twitter user said.

Others defended the move, saying they understood the financial benefits of ending the program.

“I think from the business standpoint the referral program made sense when the company was a small startup not known to everyone,” said one user on the Tesla owner forum Tesla Motors Club. “But today when almost everyone has already heard of Tesla, when the company has surpassed many traditional automakers in valuation, when the Model 3 is outselling every other car in its class, what’s the point of referral?”

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Here’s what people are saying about the end of Tesla’s referral program.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

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Unilever is finally getting Facebook, Google and Twitter to bend on ad measurement — but it won't have much impact unless other brands get on board

Unilever says that it’s making headway on getting the “walled gardens” to work together.

For the past year, Unilever has been running a pilot program with some of its brands to compare how their ads perform across Facebook, Google, and Twitter. And earlier this week, it rolled out a more formal initiative to apply the learnings from its tests to measure digital ads. The cross-measurement effort fits into a larger initiative called the Digital Responsibility Framework that Unilever launched last year to focus on brand safety, measurement, and verification.

Unilever has been pushing for more transparency into its advertising buys for several years. CMO Keith Weed has been vocal in asking social platforms to make it easier to measure ad performance — specifically when it comes to creating a consistent metric that tracks reach and frequency of ads.

The packaged-goods giant behind brands like Lipton and Dove is working with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), Facebook, Google, Twitter, Nielsen, and Kantar Media to create the cross-media measurement model. Luis Di Como, EVP of global media at Unilever, said that the model will help in three areas:

  • Getting unduplicated reach so an advertiser can zero in on a single platform’s audience.
  • Examining user behavior by platform.
  • Eventually measuring stats like brand preference and sales.

“The topic of cross-media measurement requires a systematic solution for the whole industry,” Como said. “This will benefit, at the end, the consumer. The consumer will not be bombarded with the same messages because we are going to be able to understand unduplicated reach, but more importantly, the impact that we are getting in each of the platforms.”

Unilever’s goal is to create a measurement standard it can use across markets. The effort fits with Unilever’s move over the past couple of years to cut its ad budgets and the number of agencies it works with.

Read more: Unilever’s Keith Weed says the company’s sustainable brands are delivering 70% of its growth

“Because you can’t optimize the reach and frequency across the platforms, we can end up over-serving in one area, which is a negative thing because it means that we’re spending money that we don’t want to because it’s not very effective,” Weed said. “More recently, people are talking more about cross-measurement. I think the time is now right to bring it to the industry.”

Unilever’s learnings are limited in scope

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Facebook’s Brad Smallwood, VP of marketing science, said the company is open to sharing some of its advertising data with other platforms and suggested that Nielsen could serve as a neutral, third party to anonymize and hash the data.

He said the challenge is getting brands to speak up with specific measurement asks that are similar to Unilever’s.

“We need focus,” Smallwood said. “When you get a whole bunch of [people] together and say, ‘What do you want,’ everybody wants the kitchen sink. If the ask is too broad, then the timing draws on. The specific ask is the key.”

Weed argued that the biggest challenge with cross-platform measurement is getting multiple platforms on the same page. While Unilever has some learnings about the reach and frequency of its digital ads, the results are limited to a pilot program in a few markets. More importantly, the tests have not been able to measure ads’ impact on sales. Reach and frequency primarily measure brand awareness and if someone viewed an ad.

Weed added that he’s confident that the platforms will remain open to discussions.

“Here we are a year later, and we’ve made some really meaningful progress,” he said. “There are some positive stories out there despite some of the challenges we hear elsewhere.”

Unilever and rival Procter & Gamble are two of the world’s biggest advertisers: In 2017, P&G spent $10 billion in advertising, followed by Unilever with $7 billion. With more marketers asking for transparency in their digital advertising, Weed and P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard have become two of the most vocal marketers asking digital players to provide comparable stats across platforms as part of a larger push for advertising transparency.

Both brands have successfully whittled down ad spend and pushed the platforms to become more open, but they only represent two of the millions of advertisers, and it’s not clear how much other brands have followed Unilever’s footsteps. So its measurement progress may not benefit the broader advertising industry.

Asked if he’s talked to other brands about the company’s measurement efforts, Weed said that he hopes Unilever’s involvement with a big trade organization like the WFA will attract others.

In fact, Unilever has intentionally left its agencies out of the process and is working directly with the WFA, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Nielsen and Kantar Media. However, Unilever’s agencies will be able to see the initial learnings from the program to help with future media buying.

“We believe that the biggest thing we needed to do was crack this with Google, Facebook and Twitter and make sufficient progress — we’re not there yet — but we could then have a more meaningful conversation,” Weed said. “The difficult thing that we’re going to do now is hand over that leadership to the WFA — then it becomes an industry initiative rather than a Unilever initiative.”

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I tried Prime Now, the 2-hour delivery service that’s helping Amazon take over the grocery market — and I discovered a hidden flaw (AMZN)

Amazon Prime NowAn Amazon Prime Now fulfillment center.AP/Mark Lennihan

  • I tried Amazon Prime Now, the company’s two-hour delivery service, last year.
  • At the time, I found it was full of surprising costs, and it took longer than two hours.
  • Still, it’s massively convenient for some specific needs.

Amazon Prime Now is getting all the attention these days.

The service, which promises two-hour delivery for a wide variety of items from grocery to electronics, has expanded rapidly across the country.

Most recently, Amazon added Whole Foods to its list of Prime Now stores in cities across the country. Whole Foods delivery is now available in 63 cities as of October.

Prime Now is also one of the most important pillars in Amazon’s quest to take a bigger bite of the grocery market by combining convenience with selection.

So, with Amazon funneling efforts into growing the service, I decided to check out how it really works: 

Exclusive FREE Slide Deck: Future of Retail:AI by Business Insider Intelligence

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