Back in 2011, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asked the company’s board to freeze his annual salary at $US81,840 — no cash bonuses or stock awards, nada.
And so, when Amazon released its annual proxy statement to shareholders today, it wasn’t a huge shock to find that despite his leadership of the company, Bezos’ total compensation in 2016 totalled a relatively meager $US1,681,840. That’s $US81,840 in salary, and $US1.6 million in security and travel arrangements.
Instead, the highest-earning executive is Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, the retailer’s most profitable unit and the leader in the burgeoning cloud computing market. Last year, he made $US175,000 in salary, $US35,431,144 worth of stock grants, and $US3,500 in matched 401(k) retirement account contributions from Amazon, for 35,609,644 total.
Amazon Web Services, started in 2006, lets programmers rent functionally unlimited supercomputing power from the very same servers and services that Amazon itself relies upon to run its retail empire. Nowadays, Microsoft and Google are considered to be the second- and third-place players in the market, respectively, both racing against AWS.
Jassy has been with AWS since its formation, but he earned the title of “CEO” in 2016, in recognition of the importance of the unit to the company. According to Amazon’s filing, that new title came with a restricted stock grant (RSU) of 30,000 shares in the company.
Meanwhile, don’t cry for Bezos. According to this same filing, the billionaire owns about 16.9% of Amazon, meaning he’d be just fine even after selling billions of dollars of his stock in the company to fund Blue Origin, his reusable spaceflight company.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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