Of course Google’s Matt Brittin doesn’t know what his wages are!

At the beginning of the session, Brittin, the president of Google Europe, declined to respond to a request to say how much he was paid, saying: “I’ll happily disclose that if it’s a relative matter for the committee.”

The committee chair, Meg Hillier, demanded to know it, but Brittin said he did not have the figure.

“You don’t know what you get paid, Mr Brittin?” she said to laughter in the room.

She continued: “Out there, our constituents are very angry, they live in a different world clearly to the world you live in, if you can’t even tell us what you are paid.

“It seems a bit of a PR disaster if you didn’t have the nous to realise in the same week that taxpayers were filing their tax returns, and sweating over a little bit of bank interest and getting it in on time, and you announce this as a good deal.”

Meg Hillier is an ignorant cow, isn’t she?

Most of his pay is in stock units. Which change value day by day. How the fuck can he know what he’s being paid?

36 thoughts on “Of course Google’s Matt Brittin doesn’t know what his wages are!”

  1. I listened to the exchange & a subsequent interview with Hillier. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Brittin was refusing to tell her as she did not confirm the relevance (that’s because there is none) & even the BBC interviewer asked her what the relevance was & was. She didn’t explain.

  2. he could have mentioned the number of options he’s been granted or have vested in the current year?
    anyway, didnt hillier’s parents teach her not to ask a man’s salary and a woman’s age?

  3. It’s irrelevant, and she asked him only in the hope he’d cite a high figure and then attack him for “living in a different world”.

    Pretty shitty behaviour, in fact.

  4. I imagine the self employed of Britain had a certain measure of sympathy for this guy, what with their answer also being ‘dunno’ or ‘depends’.

  5. I wonder if Meg Hillier would know her “salary” if she were asked for it on the spur of the moment for no reason pertaining to the subject under enquiry? I think that once you are close to the median wage, you start to forget or lose track of exactly what your salary is. It is only when you are trying for a new job that you hold it in your head. You just track the monthly figures arriving in your bank account. The gross figure is a mere abstraction of no real importance.

  6. Philip Scott Thomas

    It is only when you are trying for a new job that you hold it in your head. You just track the monthly figures arriving in your bank account. The gross figure is a mere abstraction of no real importance.

    Quite so. I’m not sure what my annual salary is. I could guess to within a thousand pounds. It doesn’t matter. It’s the monthly net that matters because that’s what goes in my budget spreadsheet.

  7. Arnald – you tempted me to listen to it, and she did indeed follow up at the second or third attempt with “forget the share options”.

    But – what an utterly useless, pointless, inept waste of space she came across as. i thought he did remarkably well only to smile politely in response!

  8. I don’t really know my annual salary off the top of my head. I know roughly how many CHF I get each month, but only because I had to look it up the other day. What a lot of people don’t realize is once you have made a pile, even a small pile, and you’re not living month-to-month then you don’t look at what is going into the account each month or read your pay slip. That doesn’t mean we’re all sitting around on yachts and torturing orphans for fun, though.

  9. Arnald

    He didn’t want to tell her, (he should have told her to mind her own business but… ) and he has no obligation to make his remuneration public. And – it has nothing whatsoever to do with the PAC enquiry, apart from Hillier grandstanding in the best traditions of Hodge.

    In the words of Murphy, can you not understand nuance?

  10. I would like to see somebody have a go back.

    “I came here to be a witness, not to be abused by grandstanding MPs cowering behind Parliamentary Priviliege.”

  11. even in terms of a job isn’t always straightforward; I was asked for my salary expectations at an interview recently and pointed out that it’s more the whole remuneration benefits package, the location, an extra weeks leave than the normal local standard and a final salary pension scheme tend to make a difference to the baseline salary you are prepared to accept after all. Yes there is a walk away you have to be joking number, but above that it becomes flexible and tends to change with time and circumstances. There’s plenty of studies that have shown people who like where they work and are happy will not move jobs without a sizeable incentive.

  12. When I was still a shiny new executive, I was asked quite a few time what my salary was, which request was always: “That’s between me, my boss and the taxman. Now fuck off and mind your own business.”

    I can’t imagine the gall of a politician asking a private citizen for their salary figure.

  13. I would imagine the only President of Google Europe gets paid more than one of 650 or whatever MP’s.

    Of course, MP’s only ever talk about their main salary figure, and never mention their various benefits (some of which are just tax-free extra salary)

  14. Whatever it is, around 60% will be coming back into HMRC’s coffers before he gets the chance to enjoy it.

  15. A more pertinent question would be to ask how much personal UK tax Mr Brittin pays. We know Ms Hillier pays no UK tax as she is a net recipient of taxpayer largesse. In fact Mr Brittin may well be funding her wages as well as a number of her compatriots.

    Chiding Google over it’s “don’t do evil” motto is a bit rich coming from a representative of HMRC who have a record of taxing low paid workers and squandering that tax on whimsical “expenses”, not to mention all the warmongering business.

    The bottom line is that all this discussion on how much tax whoever is paying or not paying is moot when the government are just going to p*ss it up against the wall on one of their new train set vanity projects. Of course, the turkeys in charge aren’t too keen on talking about christmas.

  16. Bloke in North Dorset

    ““It seems a bit of a PR disaster if you didn’t have the nous to realise in the same week that taxpayers were filing their tax returns, and sweating over a little bit of bank interest and getting it in on time, and you announce this as a good deal.””

    What he should have retorted was “knowing my salary will not make one iota of difference to that task and if you are worried about you have the ability to change it”

  17. I am not sure how much I earn – I know the net amount in my fortnightly pay cheque; but I would have to do a bit of checking back to what my annual gross is (and, more importantly, what my total remuneration is).

    I can’t imagine our CEO has any idea what he earns as “basic” salary – not without having to get an accountant to run the numbers.

    The fact that this MP asked the question, and then continued to ask the question, shows that the whole thing is purely politics and they aren’t really interested in answers – or even understanding the facts.

  18. Just out of curiosity, was Google or these executives legally obligated to come to this kangaroo court? If not, was this for shits and giggles?

    Meg Hellier, like Margaret Hodge before her engages in political grandstanding by asking irrelevant questions of law abiding taxpayers. They understand clearly, that the average person on the street will think them “Champions of the People” by such antics and would never appreciate the heavy lifting in quiet committee of actually adapting the current tax system to the modern world.

  19. I believe that witnesses are first “invited”, i.e. they can refuse, although such a refusal might be considered bad PR.

    In extremis I believe they can be summonsed, though how often this has occurred I don’t know.

  20. David S Lesperance,

    “Just out of curiosity, was Google or these executives legally obligated to come to this kangaroo court? If not, was this for shits and giggles?”

    I have two hypotheses on this, both of which are based on a viewpoint that Google aren’t run by idiots and have good PR people who know what they’re doing.

    a) There’s a positive effect to mildly negative publicity. It’s why execs appeared on Watchdog. The more minutes people spoke about PC World or Peugeot cars, the more those names get buried in the brain. Yes, there’s a mildly negative view, but studies show that that effect is very short term, while the name lingers.

    b) Most of the public don’t trust politicians, and by putting Google before a kangaroo court, make the public more sympathetic towards them.

    I tend to favour a).

  21. Stigler

    That’s interesting. For me, witnessing the exchange in the link personally reinforced b).

    I have no time for google, but he did himself and his company no harm whatsoever in the way he handled that second rate “HtD imitation”.

  22. Whereas, most people actually LIKE cunts…..but Nobody likes Arnald.

    As for Hellier, Tim’s comment is far too unkind to cows, most cows have a reasonable sort of bovine dignity and some, again bovine, intelligence. Heller just a stupid grandstanding bitch with bad hair and no fucking dignity at all. The bad PR is all on her, not that one would expect her to understand that.

  23. @DBC Reed: In most organisations, knowing what other people earn is for no-one. A person’s salary and other pay is a matter between them and the company (as represented by their line manager) and nobody else’s business.

  24. DBC

    Being “an employee” helps – re knowing what you earn – and lots of us aren’t. If that helps you at all?

    Plus what Alex said – it was absolutely none of her business, and she was nowhere near smart enough to grasp that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *