Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, sells more than $285 million in Microsoft stock.
New York : It looks like Tesla's Elon Musk isn't the only high profile CEO getting rid of shares in the company they run. Satya Nadella, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft, has sold more than half of his stake in the software giant in the last week.
Nadella sold nearly 840,000 shares of Microsoft just before Thanksgiving, netting him about $285 million in proceeds, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He still owns more than 830,000 shares of Microsoft (MSFT), which are currently worth about $280 million.
It makes sense that Nadella would take some money off the table. After all, Microsoft stock has been a stellar performer this year, soaring more than 50%. The only Dow stock that has performed better is Home Depot (HD).
Microsoft has enjoyed strong sales and earnings thanks to the cloud leadership position it established since Nadella took over as CEO in 2014. The company is now worth more than $2.5 trillion. Only Microsoft rival Apple (AAPL) has a higher market value.
And Nadella has been compensated handsomely for his successful tenure at Microsoft.
Nadella earned a salary of $2.5 million this fiscal year and has a total annual compensation package, which includes stock awards and cash incentives, of nearly $50 million, according to Microsoft's most recent annual shareholder proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. During the previous two fiscal years, Nadella earned more than $40 million.
Microsoft's Azure cloud unit has grown under Nadella's leadership. Its main Office 365 suite of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other business software, as well as its LinkedIn corporate social networking operation and Xbox gaming division, are all profitable.
In a statement to CNN Business, a Microsoft representative said that Nadella sold the stock "for personal financial planning and diversification purposes."
"He is committed to the company's continued success, and his interests far exceed the Microsoft Board of Directors' holding requirements," the statement stated.
The stock sale also comes shortly before Microsoft's home state of Washington is set to implement a 7% long-term capital gains tax.