(Reuters) - Oracle Corp’s (ORCL.N) Larry Ellison, who is stepping aside as chief executive officer, took less money home in fiscal 2014 that the year before following criticism of his compensation and concerns about the software company’s struggles against smaller rivals.
Ellison received $67.3 million as compensation in 2014, a 15.5 percent drop from a year earlier, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Oracle surprised Wall Street last week with the announcement that Ellison, who the cofounded the company four decades ago and owns a quarter of it, would be replaced by Presidents Safra Catz and Mark Hurd.
Compensation for Catz and Hurd stood at $37.7 million each for the fiscal year ended May 2014, also less than in the previous year, according to the filing.
For fiscal 2015, Oracle is reducing the number of stock options granted to the three senior executives and introducing performance stock units, which will be awarded based on Oracle’s success against rivals including SAP and IBM (IBM.N).
Ellison, whose 2013 compensation was $79.6 million, will take over as executive chairman and chief technology officer.
In recent years, some investors have opposed Ellison’s pay packages, complaining that the world’s fifth-richest man makes too much money as his company struggles.
While Ellison, Catz and Hurd took home less total pay last year, their stock options and other incentives are still generous, said Michael Pryce-Jones, an analyst at CtW Investment Group, which advises union pension funds and has been a critic of Ellison’s compensation.
“Careful scrutiny and caution are warranted because we’re still looking at awards with huge economic value. You’ve got Catz and Hurd on a huge number and Ellison hasn’t taken a huge dip either,” Pryce-Jones said.
Oracle’s compensation committee reduced Ellison’s stock option awards for 2015 to 2.25 million shares from 7 million shares in fiscal 2014, the filing showed.
Catz and Hurd were granted a special one-time stock option award for 500,000 shares each, taking the options for 2015 to 2.75 million shares each, down from 5 million the year before.
Last year, a majority of shareholders opposed Ellison’s pay in a non-binding vote. While the voting result requires no changes from the company, it underscored concern among shareholders about high pay as the company struggles to fend off smaller, aggressive companies offering software and Internet-based products at prices that often undercut Oracle.
“The issues remain the same. Oracle has misexecuted and shown disappointing numbers to the street for the better part of the last few years,” said FBR analyst Daniel Ives.
In fiscal 2014 Ellison collected a salary of $1, with the rest of his compensation coming mostly from stock options.
Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Anya George Tharakan in Bangalore and Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Cynthia Osterman