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Zoom’s Pandemic Boom Boosts Top Lawyer’s Pay Total Near $11M (2)

May 6, 2021, 4:13 PMUpdated: May 6, 2021, 7:24 PM

Zoom Video Communications Inc. gave top lawyer Aparna Bawa more than $10.6 million in total compensation last year as new users flocked to the video teleconferencing service, according to a proxy statement filed late Wednesday.

Bawa was promoted in June to chief operating officer, in addition to her role as chief legal officer. She has played a key role overseeing legal and business matters as Zoom saw a wave of new users staying at home during the pandemic.

The San Jose, Calif.-based video teleconferencing company’s daily meeting users jumped to 300 million in April 2020 from about 10 million five months earlier, Bawa said at a February event hosted by the Washington Post.

The influx “seems like something that we should have planned, but the pandemic was unplanned for all of us,” Bawa said at the event. “And yes, we have grown tremendously.”

The popularity spike led to security concerns about Zoom’s platform, which has been the subject of lawsuits and inquiries by federal prosecutors and regulators. Bawa, who was not a named executive officer at Zoom during its 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Zoom disclosed in its proxy that the bulk of Bawa’s pay package for fiscal 2021 is comprised of stock awards valued at more than $10.2 million. She also received nearly $50,000 in non-equity incentive plan compensation and $356,250 in base salary, a sum that going forward will be $400,000 due to her promotion to COO.

Bawa was the only Zoom executive to receive a base salary increase during its most recent fiscal year, the company said in its proxy, which also noted that she was one of two executives to receive “new hire and promotion restricted stock unit awards.”

In recognition of her promotion to COO, the compensation committee of Zoom’s board of directors approved a restricted stock unit award to Bawa with a target grant value of $7 million, the company said. Bawa currently owns Zoom stock valued at more than $49 million, according to Bloomberg data.

Securities filings show that Bawa has sold off more than $37.3 million in Zoom stock since January 2020. She joined the company as general counsel in September 2018 and was promoted to chief legal officer in August 2019.

Bawa is married to Rafik Bawa, who spent more than a decade in-house at eBay Inc. before he left in 2018 to become deputy general counsel for product at Airbnb Inc. He left that role last summer and is now a “backyard winemaker, homeschool aficionado, and real estate investor,” according to his LinkedIn profile.

The couple previously worked together as associates at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Silicon Valley. Wilson Sonsini and Cooley took the lead in January on a stock offering by Zoom that raised nearly $1.8 billion.

Cooley has handled more than 50% of the company’s federal litigation work within the past five years, according to Bloomberg Law data.

Zoom Build Out

Zoom has hired dozens of in-house lawyers within the past year.

The company in September added general counsel Jeffrey True, who had spent nearly the past decade as legal chief for Palo Alto Networks Inc.. Zoom had previously recruited chief privacy, compliance, and ethics officer Lynn Haaland and head of global public policy and government relations Jonathan “Josh” Kallmer.

It also brought on Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher associate Jesse Melman in April as an ethics and compliance counsel, a month after it hired Susan Edwards, senior director for employment law at Automation Anywhere Inc., as an associate general counsel for employment. Suzanne Marinkovich, a former associate at Morrison & Foerster, joined Zoom as a litigation counsel in October.

In January, Zoom hired veteran national security lawyer Andrew Binstock as a risk management policy adviser and brought on senior counsel for privacy Michael Yuan, who had spent over a decade in-house at Morningstar Inc., most recently as the financial services company’s chief privacy officer and associate general counsel.

A Zoom spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Yuan is related to Eric Yuan, the company’s billionaire founder and CEO.

(Updates story throughout with more detail about Zoom's in-house legal and compliance hires and outside law firms.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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