Dan Price

Dan Price Says Personal Cost of Salary Plan Was Worth It

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Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, has become the poster boy for the do-gooder CEO, ever since he cut his own salary from $1 million to $70,000 and made that level the minumum salary for all his workers.

But the move didn't come without cost. Some employees left. Some customers raised their eyebrows. And it took a personal toll on Price himself: He has had to rent out his home, liquidate some assets and change his lifestyle. 

But, he says, it was worth it.

The decision to cut his salary and pay the high minumum came from a personal challenge to take "the values I said I had...and try to prove I believed those things," he said.

While some used Price's decision to try to nudge more CEOs to lower their own pay, Price says that isn't the point. "It's not a matter of, do the same thing I did," he says. "It's do what you can."

Related: When Doing Right Turns Out to Be Very Wrong

"Every CEO should take the responsibility to address the relevant issues within their companies," he said, speaking during at interview at the Entrepreneur360 Conference in New York in October.

As for his own, previous $1 million payday, Price would not say whether that was too high. Rather, he said, it was based on what the company felt it would need to pay someone else to replace him.

Price was Entrepreneur Media's Entrepreneur of 2014, and he claims that experience led him to the path to raise salaries at his company. It was a pair of entry-level workers who first nominated him for the honor, and it occurred to him at the time that those employees made far less than he did.

"These were people who were making less than a living wage, and got me, someone who's making over a million dollars, on the cover of your magazine, which was one of the most exciting things in my life," he says.

Related: CEO Pay Isn't All That Out of Whack If You Look at Real Data