Despite Challenges, Amazon Holding Tight to Exec Pay Approach

April 14, 2023

Amazon said in its proxy this week that it is sticking with its current approach to compensating executives with large stock grants despite increasing concern among shareholders that the payouts are excessive.

For example, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky received total compensation of $18.2 million in 2022, according to the regulatory filing Wednesday, returning him to the ranks of the nation’s highest-paid legal chiefs.

“Having considered other approaches to structuring executive compensation arrangements, we remain committed to the structure of our executive compensation arrangements because it has worked effectively,” Amazon said in the proxy.

But shareholder unease is reflected in the declining shareholder advisory votes in favor of the company’s proposed executive pay, which fell from over 97% support in 2019 to 56% in favor during the 2022 annual meeting.