Anger over executive pay saw the likes of Aviva boss Andrew Moss and Trinity Mirror’s Sly Bailey fall on their swords last year, but it seems unlikely that the so-called shareholder spring will rear its head at Amazon, the internet retailer that holds its annual meeting next month.
According to a filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission, founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos received $81,840 (£52,370) in salary for 2012, despite leading a company that generated $61.1 billion in revenues during the year.
His basic pay is about half that of chief financial officer Thomas Szkutak, who also received almost $8.3 million in share awards. Andrew Jassy, its senior vice-president of web service, was awarded almost $11.5m.
In comparison, Apple chief executive Tim Cook received a total package of about $4.2m last year, while share awards boosted Oracle boss Larry Ellison’s remuneration to $96.2m.
Outside the technology sector, investment bank Goldman Sachs paid chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein $21m, the highest since 2007, making him the highest-paid chief among the ten largest US banks.
Although Bezos – who founded Amazon in 1994 and took it public three years later – has received no pay rise or share awards since 2010, he is hardly short of a dollar or two. He receives $1.6m a year to pay for “security arrangements” and corporate travel.
And his 19.1 per cent stake in Amazon is valued at about $23.5bn, which ranks him as the world’s 20th richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Amazon, along with fellow US giants Google and Starbucks faced a grilling from MPs in November over its tax affairs in the UK, and last month the group faced a revolt from small traders after announcing a hike in the fees it charges for transactions.
In a letter to shareholders ahead of the annual meeting, to be held on 23 May in Seattle, Bezos said: “I know that we will make mistakes along the way – some will be self-inflicted, some will be served up by smart and hard-working competitors.”