SEC filings this week showed the 42-year-old Dorsey remains a member of the US$1 salary club.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on April 10, 2019

The US$1.40 figure Dorsey earned in salary is a tip of the hat to Twitter’s old character limit of 140. Similarly, he was previously paid US$2.75 as CEO of digital payment company Square. The figure is a reference to the 2.75% fee Square charges for each transaction it processes.

In the regulatory filing, the company explained the nominal fee is “a testament to his commitment to and belief in Twitter’s long-term value creation potential.”

Dorsey made his millions from his share portfolio

Dorsey may have made almost no salary, but his earnings for the year topped US$80 million last calendar year after he offloaded 1.7 million of his Square shares.

Per Forbes’ billionaire list, his net worth currently stands at US$5.1 billion, having risen US$1.9 billion during 2018. He is ranked 343 on the billionaire’s list and is just outside the top 40 for the tech industry.

2018 was a more turbulent year for Twitter and Dorsey came under fire at times for the social media platform being slow to react to extremist content and hate speech online. In one public appearance, he only scored himself a ‘C’ grade for protecting Twitter users from abuse.

No longer perceived as the shiny new thing in social media, the microblogging platform was also under fire for spreading fake news. In October, it removed scores of pro-Saudi Arabia bots.

Despite the negative headlines and losing millions of users, many of which were thought to be bots, Twitter did improve its profitability and reported profits for four successive quarters for the first time.

Much of his wealth has been generated by the other company he runs, Square. It has not posted a profit to date, but its stock rose 80% in value last year. That rise in value reflects a widespread confidence that the digital point-of-sale payment market will continue to expand quickly.

A known bitcoin believer, he also recently hinted that Square will expand to accept the crypto currency as payment.

Dorsey is the latest ‘$1 man’

Other business leaders to have opted for a single dollar salary include Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel (Snap Inc, parent company of Snapchat and Bitmoji), Larry Page an Sergey Brin (Alphabet, parent company of Google) and Apple supremo Steve Jobs. The idea dates back at least to the first World War, when some prominent businessman agreed to the symbolic salary in a bid to help the company get back on its feet economically.

The idea of working basically without a salary had another moment post World War II, when some members of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s cabinet declined their usual salaries and worked for a dollar in solidarity with their financially struggling countrymen.

Some may wonder why Dorsey and his $1 club colleagues do not simply forego a salary. As any first-year law student knows, however, contracts need consideration, which can be anything of value. The US$1 payment is a way of legally differentiating a CEO who is effectively earning no salary from a volunteer.