Is Google feeling unloved?

Matt Brittin, Google's European bossImage copyright

There was a painful moment in this week’s UK parliamentary hearing about Google’s tax affairs when the company’s European boss Matt Brittin was asked to reveal his pay.

He hesitated, and then said “I don’t have the figure but I will happily provide it.” Now this turned out to be the worst possible answer – the MP who had asked the question was able to point out that anyone who didn’t even know the size of their own pay packet must live in a different world from most people.

A better answer might have been that, like any commercial business, Google was not required to disclose the salaries of executives other than those on the main board – which Mr Brittin is not – so the politician should not be so nosy.

The trouble is that Google has never wanted to be just any old business. It sees itself as having a higher mission – and it wants to be admired, even loved.

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