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Brian Chesky's $120 million stock grant may rankle many, but he's pledging to contribute $100 million of it to a host endowment fund.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky’s total compensation topped $120 million in 2020, based on $119.88 million in stock grants, after stewarding the company through the toughest year in travel and into a blockbuster IPO.

The company said in a financial filing late Friday that the Airbnb board granted Chesky a 10-year award of 12 million restricted stock units, worth just under $120 million, in November, a month before the company’s historic initial public offering. The stock awards are performance based, meaning the Airbnb CEO only realizes them based on the company’s stock hitting pre-defined targets.

Chesky’s mammoth grant during Covid-ravaged 2020 was designed to retain and incentivize him because of his “unparalleled leadership since the inception of Airbnb,” the company said.

Also from the filing, he intends to contribute $100 million to the company’s Host Endowment Fund, to support hosts, and the net proceeds of the equity award to various charities,

Distributions from the Host Endowment Fund, which had a market value of around $1.7 billion at the end of March, do not appear to have yet begun. The fund “could include initiatives to remove barriers to hosting, programs that meet specific needs of our Hosts, or direct funding to Hosts, in each case as may be identified by us with input from the Host Advisory Board,” Airbnb stated.

“In designing the compensation program for Mr. Chesky, our board of directors was cognizant of Mr. Chesky’s intention to contribute shares of our common stock worth over $100 million to support the Host Endowment Fund and to donate the net proceeds from the Multi-Year Award to community, philanthropic and charitable causes,” the company said.

Chesky’s base salary will be $1, and he won’t get a target bonus, the filing said.

Chesky, who is Airbnb’s president and CEO, earned total compensation of $421,000 in 2019.

Fellow co-founders Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharcyzk notched total compensation of $22.8 million each in 2020.

Global Head of Hosting Catherine Powell had a $14.8 million payday last year, and Chief Financial Officer David Stephenson’s compensation was $9.3 million.

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Tags: airbnb, brian chesky, hosts

Photo credit: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on CNBC June 22, 2020. His 2020 compensation topped $120 million. CNBC

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