It doesn't pay as well as being Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) CEO, but Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) CEO Jeff Bezos is doing just fine.
According to recent SEC filings, the iconic e-tailer's founder and CEO took home a modest base salary of $81,840 last year, which is the same amount of bacon he's brought home for the past three years. But in addition to that, he received $1.6 million in "all other compensation," which primary consists of security costs for Bezos at business facilities and for business travel.
Bezos also received no extra compensation as a board director, got no additional stock awards, and also has no outstanding unvested equity awards. In the grand scheme of things, that's a fairly modest pay package for the CEO of an $85 billion tech company.
What else does Bezos have, though? Nearly 88 million shares of Amazon, or 19.5% of the entire company. Based on last Friday's closing price of around $188, we're talking about a $16.6 billion position.
Like I said: Bezos is doing just fine.
Founders and co-founders are typically willing to take home less in cash and stock compensation because they usually already have a sizable stake in the companies they started. On top of that, they have something else invested that's invaluable: pride.
For example, Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM ) co-founder and CEO John Mackey earned a base salary of just $1 last year, for a total pay package of just $78,451. Mackey doesn't own a large percentage of his company, though. He beneficially owns about 1.1 million shares -- less than 1%.
Charles Schwab's (Nasdaq: SCHW ) namesake founder and chairman beneficially owns roughly 199 million shares of that company, or a 15.6% stake. His pay package last year totaled $4.5 million, while CEO Walt Bettinger took home $10.1 million.
That adds some context to Apple CEO Tim Cook's 2011 pay package of $378 million, although the bulk of that amount was related to the 1 million restricted stock units, or RSUs, he received upon Steve Jobs' resignation. Not including those golden handcuffs (which are now valued near $600 million), Cook took home cash compensation of $1.8 million. Cook has a total of 1.36 million unvested RSUs.
With an estimated total net worth of $18.4 billion and the bulk of that from his Amazon shares, Bezos can say his interests are squarely in line with shareholders'.
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