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Salesforce stuffs CRM dollars into Benioff's package

Onlookers shocked at size of bulge

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No wonder Marc Benioff is feeling relaxed. Salesforce is increasing his multi-million-dollar package by more than a fifth.

Benioff is getting a 20 per cent bump in base salary to $1.44m – up from $1.2m - for fiscal 2015, starting on 1 February.

The CEO has been allocated a top up of 1,849,441 shares of common stock too.

Salesforce has also increased the amount of annual target bonus Benioff is entitled to – that’s going up by 60 per cent to $2.88m.

Target bonuses are awarded based on whether an employee hits pre-determined goals and targets.

Details were revealed in Salesforce’s latest SEC filing, which said bonuses "will be determined based upon achievement of a mix of company and individual performance objectives".

Bonuses are not a done deal, as Microsoft’s outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer has discovered.

He’s twice (here and here) received just fractions of his total target, for screwing up in the core business on sales of Windows and for taking a near $1bn write-down on Surface RT.

While Benioff’s package and increase might seem large, it's one area where he pales in comparison to his former mentor now competitor-cum-partner Larry Ellison.

Oracle’s chief executive remains the best paid CEO in the US, on $78.4m for Oracle’s fiscal 2013. Company shareholders recently rejected Ellison’s new package, saying his compensation was out of sync with Oracle’s performance. The company has seen slower than expected sales growth and missed targets. Ellison also declined a cash bonus of $1.2m at the time.

Salesforce, by contrast, has seen growth, although it's causing analysts to worry. Benioff’s company recently reported a 36 per cent revenue growth to $1.08bn in its third quarter, leading its CEO to boast Salesforce had become the first $1bn "enterprise cloud company".

But the growth had been inflated by the purchase of ExactTarget and Salesforce reported deferred revenue of $1.73bn, up 34 per cent. Analysts had expected $1.06bn for the quarter.

Benioff's company used the event to issue its full-year revenue guidance for fiscal 2015, saying it expects to book between $5.15bn and $5.20bn in sales.

Let’s hope for the sake of Benioff’s bonus he delivers. ®

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