Hoosiers-Like Comeback After Wipeout Forges New Tech Billionaire

(Bloomberg) -- Add Fred Luddy to the list of classic tech comebacks.

The ServiceNow Inc. founder has become a billionaire with shares of his cloud-services company trading near record highs. Luddy is worth $1.1 billion, including a $240 million stake in the firm and an investment portfolio seeded by more than $900 million of stock sales, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He reached the milestone 16 years after an accounting scandal at Peregrine Systems bankrupted the enterprise-software maker, wiping out his $35 million stake.

Luddy, 63, founded ServiceNow in 2004 and turned down buyout offers “from the tens of millions to the hundreds of millions” before the company went public in 2012, he said at a San Diego Venture Group event in 2015. Its shares have surged more than 800 percent since, valuing the firm at $29 billion, with sales approaching $2 billion last year. The shares climbed 4.5 percent Thursday, the most in 18 months, after first-quarter results beat the highest Wall Street estimate.

The Indiana University alumnus prides himself on being a techie, not a CEO. He stepped down as chief executive officer in 2011 to focus on product development before taking an advisory role in 2016. The Santa Clara, California-based company announced Wednesday that he’ll be its next chairman.

John Donahoe, the former eBay Inc. CEO who was hired last year to lead ServiceNow, got a $41.5 million compensation package for 2017, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. It includes $24.2 million in restricted stock, some of it tied to performance, and stock options valued at $16.1 million.

Luddy didn’t respond to requests for comment on his net worth.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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