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News: Tim Cook Gets Paid Less Than $1 Million

by on January 10, 2012

It’s been a bit of a discussion topic lately, but many are jumping on the doom and gloom train that Apple is changing because Tim Cook was one of the highest paid CEOs…or was he?

Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes for Fortune:

According to the proxy statement Apple (AAPL) filed Monday, the company in 2011 …

  • Paid Cook a salary of $900,017
  • Contributed $14,700 to his 401(K) account
  • Paid life-insurance premiums worth $1,820

That’s how much Tim Cook made in 2011.

What’s caught reporters’ eyes is the 1 million RSUs (restricted stock units) he was granted in August as a “promotion and retention award.”

In other words, to keep him at Apple.

On paper, the shares were worth more than $376 million when the grant was made. But in 2011, they were worthless. Half of them will vest in 2016, five years after they were granted. The other half will vest in 2021 — “subject to Mr. Cook’s continued employment with the Company.”

Sometimes we all need an accounting class—the bigger thing is that many tech writers are using the “total compensation” for a headlines grab. That’s just sad.

Also, Dustin Curtis points out (via 512 Pixels) that Steve Jobs may have taken a $1 salary, but he was sitting on a lot invested in Apple:

In 2011, Mr. Jobs’s compensation consisted of a $1 annual salary. As of the end of 2011, Mr. Jobs owned approximately 5.5 million shares of the Company’s common stock. Since rejoining the Company in 1997, Mr. Jobs had not sold any of his shares of the Company’s stock. Mr. Jobs held no unvested equity awards. The Company recognized that Mr. Jobs’s level of stock ownership significantly aligned his interests with shareholders’ interests.

As of today, Steve Jobs’s holdings in Apple are worth $2,319,515,000.

This post has been filed in News