Apple gives Tim Cook 51 percent salary rise, but his total compensation drops 99 percent

Cook's 2011 compensation consisted mainly of stock grants, but this year he got none
  • (IDG News Service)
  • 28 December, 2012 13:59

Apple CEO Tim Cook received compensation totalling US$4.17 million in 2012, down 98.9 percent on last year -- although his 2011 compensation of $378 million consisted mostly of a one-off stock grant, worth $376.2 million at the time.

Cook's salary, on the other hand, rose 50.8 percent, to $1.36 million, and his additional incentive payments more than tripled, to $2.8 million, the company revealed in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday.

His predecessor, Steve Jobs, famously took an annual salary of just $1. He received no additional incentive payments, although Apple picked up the tab for his private jet, paying $1.1 million from 2008 through 2010.

Apple's compensation committee considered that Jobs was amply compensated by the growth in value of Apple's stock, of which he held around 5.5 million shares. Its grant of 1 million restricted stock units (RSUs) to Cook on Aug. 24, 2011 was an attempt to motivate him in a similar way. Half the shares will vest in 2016, five years after he became CEO, and the other half in 2021, assuming he is still with the company.

Jobs' holding of Apple stock was dwarfed by his stake in Walt Disney Co., of which he owned around 7 percent as a result of his sale of animation studio Pixar to the company. That reportedly netted a 2011 dividend payment of $82.8 million for the trust fund to which he bequeathed his shares.

Overall, compensation by stock price has been good for Cook. His one-million-share holding is now worth around $515 million, up 36 percent over the last 16 months, based on Friday's stock price.

That, though, is nowhere near the $705 high Apple shares hit on Sept. 21, the day the iPhone 5 went on sale. Since then, Cook has made a paper loss of $190 million.

The stock price decline was triggered, in part, by disappointment that the new iPhone did not exceed the numerous rumors about its capabilities, and also with dissatisfaction with the new mapping application that Apple included in iOS 6. Its poor performance prompted Cook to issue a rare public apology, and led to the departure of Apple software chief Scott Forstall, once seen as a contender for the role of CEO.

To get Apple's stock back on an upward track, Cook will have to deliver more inspiring products than the iPad Mini -- perhaps including an Apple TV. There are signs that Apple may be moving to extend its TV offering beyond the diminutive AppleTV set-top box and the sale of TV show episodes through iTunes. Earlier this month, Cook described TV as "an area of intense interest," a stark contrast to his predecessor's dismissal of it as a "hobby."

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

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