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eBay doles out big raises, bonuses

Executives of the online auction giant got sizable raises and big bonuses last year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

    eBay gave out sizable raises and big bonuses to several of its executives last year, according to regulatory documents filed Tuesday.

    Jeff Jordan, senior vice president of eBay's U.S. operations, saw his salary jump 38 percent from 1999, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The San Jose, Calif.-based company paid eBay Technologies President Maynard Webb a $503,151 bonus on top of his $450,000 salary.

    In contrast, eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman saw her cash compensation, including salary and bonus, rise by just 2 percent from 1999.

    "A significant portion of our compensation program for our executive officers is contingent upon the individual's and eBay's performance and is closely linked to increases in long-term stockholder value," the company said in the regulatory filing. "We remain committed to this philosophy of pay for performance, recognizing that the competitive market for talented executives and the volatility of our business may result in highly variable compensation during any given annual period."

    eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove noted that despite the turmoil in the stock market and among e-commerce companies, eBay thrived last year.

    "The company is rewarding eBay's executive team, which has led eBay to a position of global prominence," he said.

    eBay saw its sales jump from $225 million in 1999 to $431 million last year as the company increased its dominance of online auctions. Despite this, the company's stock price fell by 53 percent during the course of the year.

    eBay brought in Webb in August 1999 after several multi-hour outages to help stabilize its auction system. Under Webb's direction, the company put in place a backup system that has largely limited the duration of outages and has begun to distribute its database to different servers to limit the number of systems affected by outages.

    Webb's base salary remained unchanged in 2000 from what it was in 1999. But his 2000 bonus was three times larger than bonuses eBay paid to any other executive mentioned in the filing.

    Under a retention bonus agreement made with Webb in January, eBay will pay him an annual bonus that will increase from $230,800 in 2001 to $1,154,000 in 2004.

    Jordan, who joined eBay in September 1999, saw his base salary go from $210,000 per year to $290,000. In addition, eBay paid Jordan a $136,000 bonus in 2000.

    As part of his own retention agreement with eBay, Jordan will receive a bonus each May until 2004, decreasing from $314,000 this year to $266,000.

    Matthew Bannick, senior vice president of eBay's international operations, saw his salary grow 18 percent from $175,000 in 1999 to $207,250. eBay paid Michael R. Jacobson, its vice president of legal affairs, $190,000 in 2000, a 19 percent increase from the $160,000 he made in 1999.

    eBay paid Bannick and Jacobson bonuses of $86,139 and $65,139, respectively, on top of their base salaries.

    Jacobson exercised nearly 250,000 options in 2000, posting a gain of $14.9 million. Meanwhile, Bannick gained $933,000 last year by exercising 35,000 options. And Webb earned $159,000 by exercising 10,000 options.

    eBay granted 500,000 options to Whitman between May and June of last year and between 100,000 and 200,000 during the same time period to the other executives mentioned in the report. The executives canceled almost all of those options as part of an agreement with eBay after the company determined that the grants might jeopardize its preferred method of accounting for its acquisition of Half.com, which it announced in June.

    Although Jordan canceled 200,000 options as part of that agreement, he kept another 100,000 options that eBay granted him in January.

    Whitman's salary rose from $195,000 in 1999 to $210,000 in 2000, an 8 percent increase. But her bonus dropped from $97,500 in 1999 to $87,914.

    In addition to the cash compensation, eBay contributed $1,500 to each of these executives' 401(k) plans and paid insurance premiums totaling about $370 for each executive's life insurance plan.