According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook was the highest paid CEO in 2011, with a pay package equating to $378M at the time it was awarded. However, the package consisted largely of 1 million shares of Apple stock that cannot be sold before 2016 or 2021.
In addition, as the price of the stock has risen significantly since August of last year, when the award was made, Cook’s stock is now worth somewhere around $530M. This means that the ‘pay package’ is really a moving target, rather than a flat-rate payment.
Cook’s next biggest rival on the charts was Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle and longtime friend of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Ellison’s compensation ran in the $76M range in 2011, though he took no salary for himself.
The list was rounded out by Les Moonves of CBS at $69.3M, Ron Johnson, Apple’s former retail chief—now CEO at J.C. Penney—with $53.3M and Sanjay Jha of Motorola Mobility at $46.6M.
We have to note, once again, that, while the WSJ article uses the term ‘paid’ in the title, Cook didn’t actually make that full $378M in 2011. Because of the restrictions placed on the stock, Cook will have to stay with Apple until at least 2021 to have all of his stocks vest. This both gives him an incentive to stay and to grow Apple’s business, and therefore the value of his shares.
Cook received a $900,000 salary and a performance bonus that matched, which was included in that $378M package. Even with the restrictions placed on the stock, the difference between Cook’s numbers and the rest of the chart demonstrates the incredible performance of Apple’s shares when compared to the rest of the field.