Apple chief's pay approaches $100m

Apple chief's pay approaches $100m

Tim Cook earned 1,447 times more than average employee of iPhone maker last year

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPhone 13 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 7 during a broadcast staged to launch new products on Sept 14 last year. (Apple Handout via Reuters)
Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPhone 13 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 7 during a broadcast staged to launch new products on Sept 14 last year. (Apple Handout via Reuters)

Apple Inc boss Tim Cook earned 1,447 times more than the average employee at the tech giant, a filing with US market regulators shows, fuelled by stock awards that helped him earn a total of nearly US$100 million.

In 2021, the median pay for employees was $68,254, Apple said in a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, adding that it had selected a new median employee for comparison due to changes in hiring and compensation.

The median pay in 2020 was $57,783 and Cook earned 256 times that amount as he received fewer stock awards.

The iPhone maker has benefited from strong demand for its products and services over the past two years as consumers working from home shell out on upgrades. Apple’s revenue rose more than 30% to $365.82 billion for its 2021 fiscal year, which ended on Sept 25. That has helped boost its shares to briefly cross $3 trillion in market capitalisation this year.

Cook, whose salary remained at $3 million, received $82.3 million in stock awards, $12 million for hitting Apple’s targets and $1.4 million for air travel, retirement plan, insurance premiums and others.

In total, he received $98.7 million compared with $14.8 million in 2020.

Cook took charge in August 2011 after founder Steve Jobs stepped down months before his death from cancer. Apple’s stock has surged over 1,000% since then.

In September last year, Cook received 333,987 restricted stock units, in his first stock grant since 2011 as part of a new long-term equity plan. He will be eligible to receive additional units based on the company’s performance in 2023.

In Corporate America as a whole, CEOs were paid 351 times as much as a typical worker in 2020, a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) showed. 

“Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality that we could safely do away with,” the report said. "CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay and because so much of their pay (more than 80%) is stock-related, not because they are increasing their productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills.”


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