Four of Amazon’s most highly compensated executives captured a combined US$350 million in total compensated in 2021.
Amazon’s top paid executives all had an annual base salary of less than US$200,000, with the vast majority of compensation coming via stock awards, according to an Amazon proxy filing this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We design our compensation programs to attract and retain the best talent, reinforce ownership, and emphasize performance and contribution to our long-term success,” said Amazon in its filing. “As a result, our compensation programs encourage experimentation, innovation, and long-term thinking, and we avoid tying compensation to a few discrete, short-term performance goals, financial or otherwise.”
Amazon said its executive compensation has two basic components: a modest base salary and periodic grants of time-vested restricted stock units subject to long-term vesting requirements that assume a fixed annual increase in the stock price so that compensation will be negatively impacted if the company’s stock price is flat or declines.
When evaluating the compensation of its executives in 2021, Amazon’s Compensation Committee reviewed peer company compensation benchmarking information, including data from the likes of Alphabet, Apple, AT&T, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, Oracle, Walmart and The Walt Disney Company, according to Amazon’s filing.
With founder and executive chairman Jeffrey Bezos stepping out of his long-time CEO role last year for other ventures, including founding Blue Origin and traveling to space, Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy – who previously led AWS—was the highest compensated Amazon executive in 2021.
CRN US reviewed Amazon’s SEC filing to break down its four most highly compensated executives at the Seattle-based e-commerce and technology conglomerate.
No. 4: Jeffrey Bezos
Founder, Executive Chairman
Total Compensation: US$1,681,840
Jeffrey Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 and has been Chairman of the Board since its inception. He led the company as CEO from 1996 to July 2021, when he handed the reigns over to Andy Jassy, the former CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Although Bezos only reported US$1.68 million in total compensation in 2021, he owns approximately 64.59 million common shares of Amazon, representing 12.7 percent of the company’s total shares as of Feb. 22, 2022.
Bezos received a salary of US$81,840 in 2021, with all other compensation totaling US$1.6 million.
In 2020, Bezos generated the same US$1,681,840 in total compensation for the year.
“Bezos’s individual qualifications and skills as a director include his customer-focused point of view, his willingness to encourage invention, his long-term perspective, and his ongoing contributions as founder and Executive Chair,” said Amazon in its filing.
No. 3: David Clark
CEO, Worldwide Consumer
Total Compensation: US$56,074,571
David Clark was promoted to CEO of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon on Jan. 1, 2021. He has been at Amazon since 1999 in a variety of top executive positions including senior vice president of Worldwide Operations, and vice president of Global Customer Fulfillment.
In 2021, Clark received a whopping US$55.59 million in stock awards, representing approximately 99 percent of his total compensation.
His salary was US$175,000 last year with all other compensation totaling US$310,451.
In 2020, Clark’s total compensation was US$46,288,671 with 99 percent of its coming via stock awards.
No. 2: Adam Selipsky
Total Compensation: US$81,453,523
Adam Selipsky became CEO of the world’s largest cloud computing company in May 2021, after former AWS CEO Andy Jassy was promoted to CEO of Amazon.
Selipsky was a 12-year AWS veteran who was part of its initial launch team in 2006 but left in 2016 to lead fellow Seattle-company Tableau Software, which specializes in visual data analytics. At Tableau, Selipsky quadrupled the company’s value in the three years leading up to its US$15.7 billion acquisition by Salesforce in 2019.
In 2021, he generated stock awards of US$81.29 million, approximately 99 percent of his total compensation.
Selipsky’s salary last year was US$109,722 with all other compensation totaling US$49,000.
Selipsky officially became CEO of AWS on May 17, 2021. “Adam brings strong judgment, customer obsession, team building, demand generation and CEO experience to an already very strong AWS leadership team,” said Jassy announcing Selipsky’s hiring in 2021.
No. 1: Andy Jassy
Total Compensation: US$212,701,169
Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy reported US$212,701,169 in total compensation in 2021. That total is 6,474 times the 2021 annual total compensation of US$32,855 that the median compensated employee at Amazon makes, according to the regulatory reports.
Jassy is the founder and former CEO of Amazon’s AWS cloud technology business. He became President and CEO of Amazon in July 2021, replacing Amazon’s founder Jeffrey Bezos. He joined Amazon’s board of director last year. Jassy has held various executive roles at AWS and Amazon since he first joined the company in 1997.
In 2021, Jassy generated nearly US$212 million in stock awards, representing over 99 percent of his total compensation. That sum represents a special grant in connection with Jassy’s promotion to president and CEO. The award vests over 10 years, “with more than 80 percent of the shares scheduled to vest between 5 and 10 years after grant, and is expected to represent most of Mr. Jassy’s compensation for the coming years,” according to the SEC filing.
Jassy’s salary last year was US$175,000 with all other compensation totaling US$592,000.
“Jassy’s individual qualifications and skills as a director include his customer-focused point of view, his long-term perspective, his deep understanding of Amazon’s business and culture, his in-depth knowledge of human capital management issues, including oversight of workplace environment and culture, administration of diversity and inclusion initiatives, and implementation of policies and practices to promote employee engagement and effectiveness, and his ongoing contributions as President and CEO,” said Amazon in its filing this week.