Nikesh Arora rare non-founder tech billionaire

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Nikesh Arora has repeatedly succeeded in winning big paychecks. At Google, he became the firm’s highest-paid executive after getting a compensation package worth about $51 million in 2012, on his way to collecting stock awards worth at least $200 million by the time he left.
Poached in 2014 by SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son – and touted as the legendary investor’s likely successor – he amassed a $135-million first-year compensation package that broke Japanese records and made him the world’s best-paid executive.
But it’s Arora’s latest stint, as CEO of cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks, that’s catapulted the 55-year-old into the billionaire class.
Palo Alto Networks handed Arora a $125-million stock and options compensation package when he was hired in 2018. Thanks to a boom in cybersecurity software after a series of high-profile hacking incidents that disrupted casinos and markets, the company’s share price has more than quadrupled since then – and Arora’s stake is now worth $830 million.
Combined with enormous pay awards he secured earlier in his career, Arora’s net worth stands at $1.5 billion. That makes him a rare non-founder billionaire tech CEO. A spokesperson for Palo Alto Networks didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The bulk of Arora’s stake in Palo Alto Networks relates to more than 3.4 million options he was awarded upon joining the firm. Those were subject to meeting share-price targets, all of which have now been achieved including the highest goal: a 300% gain. Arora sold nearly $300-million worth of stock in 2023 after exercising some of the options.

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