Microsoft COO Kevin Turner sells $1.7 million worth of Microsoft shares

Soon, Microsoft shareholders will get another say-on-pay vote

Just weeks before Microsoft's shareholders will vote on an newly annual say-on-pay initiative, COO Kevin Turner sold 40,000 shares of Microsoft stock to pocket a cool $1,082,238 ... give or take a few bucks. Turner is the highest paid Microsoft executive in 2011 to be included in the say-on-pay vote.

Also see: Microsoft execs get pay raises, bonuses, and club memberships

While Microsoft officials are not the most grievous overpaid executives I've ever seen, they are most certainly members of the 1%. In Microsoft's fiscal 2011, Turner earned a base salary of $732,500, a bonus of $1,925,00 and stock awards worth $6,610,104. That's a grand total of $9,277,141. Over $9 million? Not bad for a year's work. 

This follows another transaction he made about a month ago, in which he acquired almost 290,000 shares of stock (to be vested in a four-year period) and sold 26,379 shares at $27.21 a pop for a mere $718,000.

Don't get me wrong. It's not unusual for Microsoft executives to cash out their mature stock options. But multi-year incentive plans are one of the areas that the board will ask for shareholder input at its annual meeting in November.  Shareholders haven't seen their stock rise as high as $30 in the past year, although the company has been paying dividends. While Turner is cashing out at about $27/share (about right for the stock lately), I'm curious as to how generous shareholders will be feeling towards executive pay when they get their chance.

Do you think Microsoft executives are overpaid? Underpaid? Fairly paid? Here's a chart.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in