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Amazon Pays Bezos $81,840 Salary, $1.6 Million for Security

Amazon Pays Bezos $81,840 Salary, $1.6 Million for Security Inc. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos presents at the 2010 annual Shareholders Meeting in Seattle. Photographer: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo Inc. paid Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey P. Bezos a salary of just $81,840 last year and he received no stock awards, making him one of the lowest-paid CEOs among large technology companies.

The rest of his $1.68 million in total compensation was for security arrangements at “business facilities” and for corporate travel, the Seattle-based company said today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Amazon said it aims to give its top executives “a minimum level of cash compensation” because it wants their pay to be tied to building shareholder value. As Amazon’s founder, Bezos owns almost 88 million outstanding shares of the company, a stake of about 20 percent. The value of those holdings has increased about 9 percent this year to $16.6 billion.

Bezos has ramped up investments in fulfillment, Kindle e-readers and Web services, sending operating expenses up more than 40 percent in 2011 and shaving 2.3 percentage points off margins. That spending is meant to spur sales, which rose 41 percent last year, by ensuring that consumers start and end their shopping process at Amazon.

These efforts “are not zero-sum,” Bezos said in a letter to shareholders today. “They create win-win situations and create significant value for developers, entrepreneurs, customers, authors and readers.”

Stock awards helped push Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook’s 2011 compensation to $378 million. Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison received 2011 compensation valued at $77.6 million. At Microsoft Corp., Steve Ballmer’s pay package was worth $1.38 million.

Amazon’s shares fell 1.2 percent to $188.46 at the close in New York. The stock has climbed 8.9 percent this year.

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