Ex-SoftBank COO Awarded $128 Million to Lead Palo Alto Networks

(Bloomberg) -- Nikesh Arora could become one of the highest-paid U.S. executives after being named to lead Palo Alto Networks Inc., which granted him a pay package worth about $128 million.

Arora, 50, is entitled to equity awards worth as much as $126 million when he takes over as chief executive officer on June 6, the Santa Clara, California-based company said Monday in a regulatory filing. About half of it will vest only if the firm’s shares more than double, while the rest is tied to his remaining on the job.

Arora, who spent two years at SoftBank Group Corp. as founder Masayoshi Son’s No. 2, became Japan’s best-compensated public company executive in 2015. Regulatory filings show that the tech giant dished out 31.5 billion yen ($290 million) in compensation and related expenses during his tenure, a sum that rivals Silicon Valley’s richest pay packages.

At SoftBank, Arora helped Son make the company the primary financier behind an anti-Uber alliance and led investments in Indian e-commerce provider Snapdeal.com and real-estate website Housing.com. He left after Son made it known he wasn’t looking to retire.

At Palo Alto Networks, Arora will receive $1 million in salary, a $1 million target bonus and $40 million of restricted stock that vests over seven years. He’s also entitled to receive stock options valued at $66 million that will vest in increments if the shares climb at least 150 percent. He’ll get all of them if the price quadruples.

The maker of network security software also will match up to $20 million of stock purchases he makes in his first month on the job with restricted shares that vest over four years. The company requires the CEO to own 22,000 shares or stock that’s worth at least five times base salary, whichever is less.

Arora’s predecessor, Mark McLaughlin, was the fifth-highest-paid U.S. executive in 2015, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index. He’ll become vice chairman.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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