In April 2011, Brittany Teofilo left the Stanford Graduate School of Business to become the founder and CEO of gopublicnow.com,
In April 2011, Brittany Teofilo left the Stanford Graduate School of Business to become the founder and CEO of gopublicnow.com, a securities brokerage firm specializing in helping young companies use the Internet to raise money from the public. Her company went public in March 2013. In February 2014, Teofilo personally sold one million shares of stock for $75 million. She used $12 million of the proceeds to buy a large house in Atherton, California, an easy commute to the company’s Silicon Valley offices. Teofilo still owns another four million shares.
Gopublicnow.com employs thirty senior computer programmers who are paid a starting salary of $135,000 and given stock options potentially worth millions. The company also employs five janitors who empty the trash, clean the bathrooms, and vacuum the senior programmers’ work areas. These janitors are paid approximately $15,000 a year. Due to the astronomical cost of living in Silicon Valley, several janitors with children have second jobs and rent out space in their one-bedroom apartments to make additional money to support their families. Four of the company’s janitors are non-English-speaking immigrants from Cambodia who are desperate for employment and, as a result, are willing to work for the low salary.
Although there is a large pool of unskilled workers willing to work as janitors for $15,000 a year, the market for skilled programmers is so tight that gopublicnow. com has had to institute special incentives to keep the programmers happy. Most recently, a senior programmer was given a Tesla sports car to celebrate the completion of an important piece of code.
What ethical and business considerations should a corporation’s board of directors and its CEO consider when setting the salaries for the different types of workers it employs? What role, if any, should the government play beyond establishing a minimum wage? For example, should the Securities and Exchange Commission require public companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to that of the average worker?
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