Plug Power Inc.’s long-time Chief Executive Andrew Marsh recorded total compensation of more than $52 million in 2021, a year after the fuel-cell systems company’s losses widened sevenfold but the stock skyrocketed nearly 1,000%.
In Plug Power’s 2021 proxy statement filed late Monday, the company said Marsh’s total comp was $52.25 million, up from $13.63 million in 2020 and after $3.70 million in 2019.
The 2021 comp included a base salary of $750,000, up from $676,442 in 2020, and options awards valued at $50.80 million versus $4.18 million the year before.
Plug Power didn’t respond to a request for comment.
said the value of option awards awarded to Marsh represent the aggregate grant date fair values of such performance-based stock options assuming the probable outcome of the performance conditions based on the maximum level of achievement.
In the proxy’s pay ratio disclosure, the company said using the “realizable value” of the performance-based stock options granted in 2021, his total compensation would only be $2.76 million.
Plug said that while it recognizes that the 2021 long-term incentive equity award program is “unconventional,” as the compensation committee does not use a prescribed formula for setting the size of the stock option grants, “we firmly believe that it is imperative to meet this transformational moment” in Plug Power’s history to have a “bold” incentive design.
“[T]he Compensation Committee used its collective judgment to size the performance stock option grants for the CEO and the other management team participants at levels that it believed would be motivational and retentive and, most importantly, pay for actual performance delivery and value creation,” the proxy statement said.
The big award comes after Plug Power’s stock skyrocketed 973.1% in 2020, after soaring 154.8% in 2019. In 2021, a “meme”-stock inspired run-up took it up another 115.8% to a 16-year high of $73.18 on Jan. 26, before the rally faded. The stock ended up down 16.8% in 2021, and has slumped 23.0% so far this year while the S&P 500 index
has declined 12.1%.
While the stock rallied, Plug’s losses in 2020 widened to $596.2 million from $85.6 million in 2019, while revenue swung to negative $93.2 million from positive $230.0 million.
In 2021, the company lost $460.0 million on revenue of $502.3 million. The company has recorded losses for every year since Marsh became CEO in April 2008, although revenue has soared from $17.9 million in 2008.