Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter and Square. Picture: Michael Nagle
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter and Square. Picture: Michael Nagle

Eccentric CEO’s joke of a salary

For a man who heads up two major public companies, Jack Dorsey is not your typical CEO.

He recently spent days disconnected from the outside world on a silent yoga retreat in Myanmar, and when he's at home he can be seen swanning around town with his supermodel girlfriend wearing clothes that could lead an unwitting observer to think he's fallen on hard times.

But perhaps what's most unusual is his salary.

Dorsey is the CEO of social media giant Twitter, as well as Square, which develops technology for payment platforms.

He was the co-founder of Twitter and is often credited with the original idea for the service before he was later pushed out of the top job.

He returned to the company four years ago to take charge again and he has collected his first salary since returning to the top job: a grand total of 140 US cents ($AU1.96).

For those familiar with the social media platform, you might recognise that as the original character limit for posts, a cheeky nod to when Dorsey took back control at Twitter.

The character limit was recently doubled to allow for 280 characters per post.

The modest salary was revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week.

Dorsey declined all compensation and benefits in the previous three years "as a testament to his commitment to and belief in Twitter's long-term value creation potential," the company said in its filing.

While it might sound exceptionally modest, it's not really.

Dorsey is worth about $AU7.4 billion, and a good chunk of that is the stocks and ownership he has in his companies. While he also only took a salary of $US2.75 ($AU3.85) from Square, he pocketed $US80 million ($AU112 million) last year from offloading stock.

These types of salary arrangements are commonplace in Silicon Valley. Elon Musk will officially take a $0 salary in the coming years. Instead he will be paid in stock options tied to hugely ambitious milestones for the company.

Other notable tech CEOs who have taken symbolically low salaries include former Apple boss Steve Jobs, Google's Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Oracle's Larry Ellison, among others.