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No pay hike for Amazon's Bezos

Salary increases go to several key executives, but not to CEO Jeff Bezos, as the Net retailer's sinking stock price takes the sparkle out of employee stock options.

    Net retailer Amazon.com, battling a sinking stock price that is taking the sparkle out of employee stock options, reports that salary increases went to several key executives last year, but not to Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.

    In 2000, Bezos' salary remained unchanged at $81,840, which is what the top executive received in the preceding two years, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For the fourth consecutive year, Bezos, 37, also didn't receive a bonus or stock options.

    Meanwhile, other members of Amazon's senior management team scored substantial pay hikes and bonuses. Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson's salary last year jumped to $177,450 from $55,679 in 1999. Jenson also received a bonus of $1.9 million. Mark Britto, senior vice president of cross-site merchandising, received roughly $1.1 million in salary and bonuses. Jeffrey Wilke, senior vice president of operations, received approximately $1.2 million in salary and bonuses.

    Amazon is struggling toward profitability and has been watching its stock price take on water. In January, the Seattle-based company laid off 15 percent of its staff in an effort to turn a profit by the end of the year.

    Amazon, which beat analysts' earnings estimates last quarter, recently surprised Wall Street after it said it would post a smaller-than-expected loss in the first quarter. The company, slated to report earnings April 24, expects gross profit to be about $175 million and said its net loss should be less than $255 million, including a $105 million charge for restructuring.

    Amazon shares, like those of many other Internet companies, have been mired in quicksand, sinking from a 52-week high of $68.82 to a low of $8.10.

    As part of its proxy filing with the SEC, the company also asked shareholders to vote for the re-election of existing board members. Amazon is expected to hold its annual shareholders meeting May 23.