eBay's tech chief earned more than CEO

Chief Executive Meg Whitman made over $380,000 last year, while the company's president of technology brought home $1.1 million. However, the discrepancy was by design.

Margaret Kane Former Staff writer, CNET News
Margaret is a former news editor for CNET News, based in the Boston bureau.
Margaret Kane
2 min read
eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman earned $380,588 between her salary and bonus in 2001, far less than the auction giant's president of technology, Maynard Webb, who brought home $1.1 million last year.

But the discrepancy was by design. The company said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that salaries for officers hired before the company went public, such as Whitman, were set between $160,000 and $250,000, and salaries for those brought in after the company's 1998 IPO, like Webb, were set between $250,000 and $500,000.

Whitman was hired May 7, 1998, and eBay shares went public Sept. 24 of that year. Webb was hired Aug. 9, 1999.

The salary difference between pre-IPO and post-IPO employees attempts to balance the fact that executives hired before eBay's IPO have larger, more lucrative stock holdings. Whitman has been reducing her stake in the company and now owns 3.3 percent of outstanding shares, down from 4.9 percent in April 2000 and 5.9 percent in April 1999. Founder Pierre Omidyar has also reduced his stake in the company to 23.3 percent, down from 27 percent in April 2000.

Whitman's base salary of $241,256 was smaller than all of the top executives listed in the company's proxy form. However, she was granted 750,000 options at an exercise price of $40.06, making then worth $8.79 million based on the stock's closing price Thursday.

Webb, whose base salary was $500,000, was granted 500,000 options in 2001 at the same exercise price, giving them a present value of $5.8 million. During the past year, Webb also exercised options worth $4.8 million. Whitman did not exercise any options during the past year.

eBay signed a special retention bonus plan with Webb in January 2001 that entitled him to bonuses rising from $355,200 in 2001 to $1.2 million in 2004. Webb can use those bonuses to pay off a $2.2 million loan the company made him in August 2000.