On the back of a strong year for FIFA and The Simpsons Tapped Out, EA's share price almost tripled – and the former EA Sports boss, who was promoted to the biggest chair in the company in September 2013, was rewarded handsomely. According to salary.com his $674,000 wages were topped up with a $780,000 performance bonus, $3.8 million worth of stock and $8.6 million in stock options.
In an interview with AFR Weekend, the 41-year-old Australian says his achievements are a direct result of the diligence ingrained in him by his father. "I was a blue collar kid who came from a working class family," he explains. "[I and my two younger brothers] got the work ethic out of my father that has served us well to this day. He would get up at 4 o'clock in the morning and work through to dark."
Wilson's success for the 2014 financial year (the most recent for which figures are available) dwarfs his biggest rivals among games publishers. Activision kingpin Bobby Kotick is a relative pauper having only earned $6.8 million (only!!) during the same period, while Take Two's Strauss Zelnick – the man at the very top of the Grand Theft Auto tree – made exactly £20,914. Due to a complex arrangement with his own firm, Zelnick collected $1 (really, one dollar) as salary in 2014.
Hardware is still where the biggest boys of all play, however, and none of the above can compete with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who scooped $18.2 million worth of financial treats. (Which, fascinatingly, is almost double what Apple CEO Tim Cook earned.)
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