Don't Believe Mark Zuckerberg's "Dollar" Salary Myth

What a mensch! The 22nd richest man in the world was paid just a single buckeroo in 2013, Bloomberg reports, according to Facebook's latest regulatory filings. That's so cool of him, except it's also misleading boardroom propaganda, and you shouldn't fall for it.

The idea behind the "dollar CEO" maneuver is simple and cynical: a guy like Zuck is already wealthy beyond the human capability to waste wealth, so it literally does not matter what you pay him. He could pull a salary of one trillion dollars, or a bucket of gumdrops, and it wouldn't change the fact that he already has more money than he can spend in multiple lifetimes.

The dollar salary is, then, a PR move aimed at painting a self-portrait of modesty and populism—it's a tactic Steve Jobs leaned on to humanize himself, slightly. A man of the people. Pay him in popcorn. But as Bloomberg notes, almost as an aside, Zuck is still pulling in plenty beyond that solitary buck:

Zuckerberg, whose wealth totals around $27 billion, owns Facebook shares that give him 61.6 percent of voting power in the Menlo Park, California-based social network, according to the filing. He saw his net worth balloon last year as Facebook's stock more than doubled in value.

The "dollar" is Mark's paycheck, but ignores the unfathomable sum he can cash in from his stock reserves. He cashed in over $3 billion in Facebook stock sales last year alone, the BBC adds. So, we're now at about $3,000,000,001. But that's not all:

Zuckerberg's total compensation last year was $653,165, down from $1.99 million in 2012. The compensation last year besides the $1 salary was for the passenger fees, fuel, crew and catering costs for his use of private planes for personal reasons, as part of his security program, according to the filing.

I only get paid a dollar each year plus the six figure price of running a private jet fleet and catering doesn't quite have the same ring to it.