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Amazon's Bezos Salary Frozen, Unchanged Since 1998

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 21 comments

A filing with the Security and Exchange Commission reveals that Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos continues to draw the same salary as he did in 1998.

Bezos was paid a base salary of $81,840, but was compensated with an additional $1.6 billion, which covers security during business travel. Of course, Bezos is doing just fine financially as he also owns almost 88 million Amazon shares, about 19.5 percent of the company, which are valued at nearly $16.6 billion.

The only other CEO of a publicly traded company making less that Bezos is - as far as I am aware of, and please correct me if I am wrong - Whole Foods Market's John Mackey, who received a total 2011 compensation, including stock, of $78,451. Other Amazon executives also draw relatively modest salaries. Jeffrey Wilke, senior vice president for consumer business, saw his pay climb by $5,000 to $165,000 plus $3,200 in stock for his 401(k).

Of course, since Bezos owns a huge chunk of Amazon shares, he is very interested in acting in favor of shareholder interests, which would include executive salaries and the success of the Kindle family of products. In a separate filing, Bezos focused especially on the success of Kindle and its direct publishing model. The company said that there are now more than 1,000 publishers who are selling more than 1,000 copies per month, and some have reached sales of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some consider Amazon to have the only non-iPad successful tablet platform.

If Bezos' Fire bet works out, his $88,840 pay may be even more meaningless in the future than it is today.

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  • 11 Hide
    yannigr , April 18, 2012 9:18 AM
    If you know that you can do good work and if you really care about your company and it's employs and shareholders you do what he does. If you are getting tired, bored, or don't do as good job now as you where doing in the past you write a huge paycheck to yourself and just wait for the right time to sell the company.

    I was reading an article about the CEO in a Japanese airport if i remember correctly who also was getting a low salary, was eating with his employes in the same restaurant and was going to work with the bus.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    yannigr , April 18, 2012 9:18 AM
    If you know that you can do good work and if you really care about your company and it's employs and shareholders you do what he does. If you are getting tired, bored, or don't do as good job now as you where doing in the past you write a huge paycheck to yourself and just wait for the right time to sell the company.

    I was reading an article about the CEO in a Japanese airport if i remember correctly who also was getting a low salary, was eating with his employes in the same restaurant and was going to work with the bus.
  • 3 Hide
    yannigr , April 18, 2012 9:23 AM
    Found it
    http://boingboing.net/2011/02/25/japan-airlines-ceo-p.html
  • 1 Hide
    BWMerlin , April 18, 2012 10:00 AM
    While it is obviously only a token gesture it is still a nice gesture.
  • -5 Hide
    icemunk , April 18, 2012 10:10 AM
    Pretty much the same story for every American worker since 1980.
  • 7 Hide
    tical2399 , April 18, 2012 12:09 PM
    1.6 Billion in security costs while on business travel?? WTF??? Did he pay for the R&D on his own personal robocop or something?
  • 3 Hide
    gtvr , April 18, 2012 12:19 PM
    @tical - I don't think they mean the 1.6B is for security, I think that 1.6B includes security.
  • 5 Hide
    southernshark , April 18, 2012 12:30 PM
    gtvr@tical - I don't think they mean the 1.6B is for security, I think that 1.6B includes security.

    Then its just flat out compensation and should be included in his salary... in which case he earned a lot more than 88k...........

    Honestly this article does not make any sense. Either he was compensated with an additional 1.6B or he wasn't. Maybe its a typo, but if its not then this story is moronic.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2012 1:11 PM
    The fire is amazing. We just got one, it is one of the best tablets/handhelds I've ever used.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2012 1:38 PM
    Bezos is mainly compensated in the delicious tears of his failed competition.
  • 4 Hide
    leroythered , April 18, 2012 2:15 PM
    southernsharkThen its just flat out compensation and should be included in his salary... in which case he earned a lot more than 88k...........Honestly this article does not make any sense. Either he was compensated with an additional 1.6B or he wasn't. Maybe its a typo, but if its not then this story is moronic.


    The $1.6B figure cited in the article is a typo. The additional compensation was actually $1.6million. See page 20 of the SEC filing: http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1018724/000119312512161671/d329339ddef14a.htm

    The filing includes the following footnote regarding the $1.6million: "Represents the approximate aggregate incremental cost to Amazon.com of security arrangements for Mr. Bezos in addition to security arrangements provided at business facilities and for business travel. We believe that all Company-incurred security costs are reasonable and necessary and for the Company’s benefit."

    Bezos isn't suffering, though. In 2010 he sold around $800mil worth of his stock. Source: http://www.secform4.com/insider-trading/1043298.htm
  • 3 Hide
    hoofhearted , April 18, 2012 2:27 PM
    Seriously!

    This article and the commenters are making him out to be some sort of 'good guy', when in reality, he is just avoiding taxes. As a main shareholder, he would be wise to minimize salaries (including his own) as that would minimize tax and just take the compensation from the stock.

    Isn't capital gains in the area of 20%ish, where salaray at that level would be 35+%ish?

    But then again, didn't Steve Jobs have a salary of a dollar?
  • 0 Hide
    targetdrone , April 18, 2012 3:38 PM
    hoofheartedSeriously!This article and the commenters are making him out to be some sort of 'good guy', when in reality, he is just avoiding taxes. As a main shareholder, he would be wise to minimize salaries (including his own) as that would minimize tax and just take the compensation from the stock.Isn't capital gains in the area of 20%ish, where salaray at that level would be 35+%ish?But then again, didn't Steve Jobs have a salary of a dollar?


    You're right, unearned income(invenstmetns and what not) is taxed at a lower rate than earned income, i.e your slave wage jobs.To make it "fair" do away with income tax and put inplace a consumption tax. ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    Marco925 , April 18, 2012 3:56 PM
    hoofheartedSeriously!This article and the commenters are making him out to be some sort of 'good guy', when in reality, he is just avoiding taxes. As a main shareholder, he would be wise to minimize salaries (including his own) as that would minimize tax and just take the compensation from the stock.Isn't capital gains in the area of 20%ish, where salaray at that level would be 35+%ish?But then again, didn't Steve Jobs have a salary of a dollar?


    He'll pay his income taxes when he sells his shares, for now, his money is reinvested into the company which gives him incentive to keep performing.
  • 4 Hide
    hang-the-9 , April 18, 2012 4:55 PM
    Salary in CEO, or any top exec it almost meaningless. Almost all the cash is in stock options and bonuses. I'd take a 1$ a year salary also if they'll give me 50 mil a year in stock.
  • 3 Hide
    maestintaolius , April 18, 2012 5:23 PM
    hang-the-9Salary in CEO, or any top exec it almost meaningless. Almost all the cash is in stock options and bonuses. I'd take a 1$ a year salary also if they'll give me 50 mil a year in stock.

    Especially since you can then get that wonderful 15% capital gains rate.
  • 2 Hide
    gm0n3y , April 18, 2012 6:14 PM
    Marco925He'll pay his income taxes when he sells his shares, for now, his money is reinvested into the company which gives him incentive to keep performing.

    That's not actually true. As others have mentioned, when he sells the stock he gets taxed for capital gains not income. Of course this is only for stock that he already owns, if he is given additional stock as compensation then that is a different story.
  • 0 Hide
    yannigr , April 18, 2012 6:34 PM
    hoofheartedSeriously!This article and the commenters are making him out to be some sort of 'good guy', when in reality, he is just avoiding taxes. As a main shareholder, he would be wise to minimize salaries (including his own) as that would minimize tax and just take the compensation from the stock.Isn't capital gains in the area of 20%ish, where salaray at that level would be 35+%ish?But then again, didn't Steve Jobs have a salary of a dollar?


    Salary is something in your pocket that doesn't lose value. It is secured. If you put it in a bank with good interest you can expect a little something more. Stocks on the other hand is not something secured. One day you are rich, the next day you are not.
  • 1 Hide
    wiyosaya , April 18, 2012 7:22 PM
    Meaningless, to me, is the key word in this article. All CEO's who get compensated with stock would likely be held in slightly higher regard by the general public if they were to give up "ordinary" compensation such as this.
  • 0 Hide
    fomoz , April 18, 2012 8:38 PM
    hang-the-9Salary in CEO, or any top exec it almost meaningless. Almost all the cash is in stock options and bonuses. I'd take a 1$ a year salary also if they'll give me 50 mil a year in stock.

    Steve Jobs' salary was $1 per year.
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