Photo: Stanford’s Entrepreneurship Corner
For example, Jeff Wilke, who runs Amazon’s North American consumer business, one of its largest, earned a salary last year of $165,000. That reflected a $5,000 raise from the previous year. Save one peer with an ancient employment agreement, no one at Amazon makes more than Wilke.
Lashinsky doesn’t name that executive, but a quick glance at Amazon’s proxy statement tells us it’s Diego Piacentini, Amazon’s senior vice president for international retail.
If you were expecting some grotesquely high salary, you’ll be disappointed. Piacentini makes $175,000 a year—$10,000 more than Wilke.
Formerly Apple’s general manager for Europe, he was hired in 2000 by Joe Galli, a former Black & Decker executive who had a brief stint as Amazon.com’s COO.
Granted, his employment contract, struck at a time when Amazon was desperately unprofitable (and Apple had yet to take off), does seem a bit rich: $2.3 million signing bonus and options for 600,000 shares vesting over 10 years.
He also gets $55,905 a year in expatriation and tax benefits, a perk Amazon’s other top executives don’t get.
Piacentini now holds more recent stock grants for restricted stock units equivalent to 116,000 shares.
But given that Piacentini stuck around and Amazon.com is now worth more than $100 billion, with international sales accounting for 44 per cent of its business last year, it seems odd to cast Piacentini’s slightly higher salary as an archaic divergence from Amazon’s frugal norms.
Bottom line: Piacentini got a good deal. So did Amazon.
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