10 top CEOs who earn salaries of less than $50,000

These top CEOs take middle class salaries -- or less
These top CEOs take middle class salaries -- or less

It pays to be the boss.

According to Bloomberg's recently released list of the highest-paid executives in America, top CEOs pull in hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

However, one name on the list stands out: Elon Musk of Tesla. Although Musk earned a whopping $99,744,920 in 2016, his official salary was only $45,936, which reflects the minimum wage requirements for California.

And he never accepts the money.

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk
Odd Anderson | AFP | Getty Images

Musk's not the only top executive declining pay. Taking only $1 in compensation has become something of a point of pride in Silicon Valley.

"The dollar salary really for them is meant to signify that they have large stakes in their company. The value they're going to receive — the compensation they'll earn — is coming solely from their stock," Aaron Boyd, director of governance for Equilar, a company that researches executive compensation, explains to Forbes.

"You're not going to question whether or not Larry Page is interested in growing a company's stock as a shareholder. As one of the largest shareholders, he's all in."

Here are nine other CEOs — and one U.S. president — who are making salaries of $50,000 or less.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Jack Dorsey

Position: CEO of Twitter and Square
Annual salary at Twitter: $0
Annual salary at Square: $2.75

The CEO of both Twitter and Square, Dorsey isn't taking a top salary at either company. While Twitter pays over $68,000 for Dorsey's security and protection, the billionaire's base salary is $0. At Square, he earns $2.75 annually, which happens to be the same percentage that Square charges merchants per credit card swipe on the platform.

Mark Zuckerberg

Position: CEO of Facebook
Annual salary: $1

Zuckerberg first requested a $1 salary in 2013, making him the tech giant's lowest paid employee. For Zuckerberg, the decision to forgo a higher salary is symbolic: Earning money isn't his priority with Facebook.

"I've made enough money," he said during a Facebook Q&A in 2015. "At this point, I'm just focused on making sure I do the most possible good with what I have. The main way I can help is through Facebook — giving people the power to share and connecting the world."

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel
Getty Images

Evan Spiegel

Position: CEO of Snap Inc.
Annual salary: $1

New to the $1 club, Spiegel's salary dropped from over $500,000 to $1 following the company's IPO earlier this year. Spiegel's decision is a sign of confidence in the future of the company, Fortune reports. He's so sure of the company's success that he's banking on not needing a paycheck and instead continuing to build his fortune from the value of the stock.

Richard Hayne

Position: CEO of Urban Outfitters
Annual salary: $44,310

Hayne's compensation is directly tied to his company's revenue, so it fluctuates year to year, depending on Urban's performance. According to research and investment firm Morningstar, Hayne took home just over $44,000 in 2016, an increase from the $33,000 he earned in 2013, but far less than the $535,000 he received in 2015.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google, at an event in 2005, around the time they met Sebastian Thrun.
Steve Jennings | WireImage

Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Position: CEO and President of Alphabet
Annual salary: $1

Google co-founders Page and Brin started taking $1 salaries back in 2004 when the company went public. Now the respective CEO and president of Google's parent company, Alphabet, they continue to accept only a buck a year in official compensation. However, through their stock holdings, both executives are worth more than $40 billion.

John Mackey

Position: Co-CEO of Whole Foods
Annual salary: $1

Whole Foods' high prices might have earned the grocery store chain the moniker "Whole Paycheck," but one of the company's co-CEOs has only taken $1 a year since 2007.

"I have enough money, and the deeper motivations for me are to do service and try to do good in the world," he told the Wall Street Journal shortly after announcing his decision in 2006. "I don't think of myself as particularly special or noble for doing it. It's just what I want to do."

President Donald Trump
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Donald Trump

Position: President of the United States
Annual salary: $1

While campaigning, Trump stated that he would accept no salary if elected. The billionaire has stuck to that declaration so far: He donated the entirety of his first quarter earnings to the National Park Service.

Jeremy Stoppelman

Position: CEO of Yelp
Annual salary: $1

In 2013, Stoppelman reduced his base salary to $1, joining the ranks of several other Silicon Valley executives. However, with stock options, he's still making a good amount: He earned around $919,000 in 2015.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap.

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These top CEOs take middle class salaries -- or less
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