Apple CEO's pay takes big hit vs. record 2011 package

Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:44pm EST
 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook's 2012 compensation package of $4.17 million is a huge cut on paper for the top executive of the most valuable U.S. corporation, after a 2011 package fattened by more than $376 million in long-term stock awards.

Cook received the largest single pay package awarded to a company CEO in about a decade when he replaced Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in August last year, shortly before the Silicon Valley legend's death in October 2011.

The maker of the iPhone and iPad made the 2012 compensation disclosures in a regulatory filing on Thursday. Cook, 52, has been with Apple since 1998.

Virtually all of Cook's $376 million stock bonus in 2011 was in awards that vest in two chunks - one in 2016 and the other in 2021. This structure was intended to keep Jobs' longtime lieutenant at the helm for many years, as the value of the stock will depend on how well the company is doing in 2016 and 2021.

Cook, who is credited with masterminding a sprawling but efficient Asian supply chain, has generally received high marks for his first year for shepherding several successful gadget launches, including the iPhone 5.

But he was forced to make a public apology in September after the company launched a mapping service application riddled with glaring geographical errors. The Maps app fiasco contributed to the departure of fellow Apple veteran and software chief Scott Forstall.

In addition, some analysts questioned whether Cook, whose only major new product since taking the helm was a smaller version of the iPad that Jobs propelled into the mainstream in 2010, has the vision to produce the next big product category and sustain historically stellar growth for Apple as global mobile competition intensifies.

"The jury is still out in terms of the job he is doing," said fund manager Tim Ghriskey, whose Solaris Group counts Apple stock as the biggest holding among the approximately $2 billion it manages.

But he added that the company's long-term prospects look strong, particularly if it rolls out oft-rumored television products in the next few years.   Continued...

 
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks to the audience during an Apple event in San Jose, California October 23, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith