Jeffrey Bezos, Amazon (AMZN)
The founder of Amazon (AMZN) received a salary of $81,840 in 2012 along with $1.6 million in other compensation to pay for the CEOs security detail. Bezos is a very high-profile individual whose 87 million shares (19.1% of the company) are worth $32 billion as of March 13.
Rightly, the board wants to keep him safe and incentivized to continue building the company he started back in 1994. The same holds true for its four other named executive officers who receive minimal salaries combined with stock awards vesting over six years. For every 1% move in Amazon stock, Bezos makes a paper gain of $320 million.
You can argue all you want about Bezos’ plan for the company and how he’s foregoing short-term profits to the detriment of the shareholders. However, you can’t argue about the sheer massiveness of what he’s built. AMZN generated $74 billion in revenue in 2013, seven times that of the NFL. In terms of operating profits, it brought in $745 million, about half the $1.5 billion I estimate (using Forbes‘ figures) the NFL generated in operating profits in the 2012 season.
The NFL’s certainly more profitable. But then again Bezos isn’t aiming for higher margins. He’s looking 10 years down the road at what the business will become; not what it currently is. Despite holding back the profit lever, AMZN has a market cap of $171 billion — four times the $41 billion estimated value of the NFL and its teams. And Bezos did this in 20 years, compared to 44 for the NFL (NFL/AFL merger in 1970).
Jeff Bezos could definitely run the NFL.