Apple’s profit slump means a pay cut for Tim Cook

Peter Sayer and David Braue
9 January, 2017
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Tim-Cook-apple-ceo-macworld-australiaApple CEO Tim Cook’s total compensation took a dive for 2016, as the company missed its financial targets for the year.

The company’s earnings for the year to 24 September dropped 14 percent compared to a year earlier.

As a result, Cook’s total compensation dropped 15 percent – despite a 50 percent rise in base salary.

He certainly won’t have to start eating ramen noodles – he made US$8,747,719, after all – but he and fellow senior executives lost out on a few million each because of the poor performance.

Cook’s compensation consists of a base salary and an annual cash incentive that can reach worth four times base salary if the company’s revenue and earnings exceed the maximum goals set, as they did in 2015 when Cook received US$10.28 million, including US$280,000 in ‘other’ compensation.

In 2016, by contrast, the incentive was only 1.79 times base salary, according to documents Apple filed with the SEC on Friday. Luckily for Cook, that US$1 million pay raise at the start of the year also receives the multiplier: without that, he would have made less than US$5 million in total.

Apple also provided compensation details for five other executives in its filing. They all made more than Cook.

The five were CFO Luca Maestri, senior vice president for retail Angela Ahrendts, SVP for internet software and services Eddy Cue, SVP for hardware engineering Dan Riccio, and general counsel Bruce Sewell. Each had a base salary of US$1 million, the same as last year, an annual incentive of US$1.79 million and stock awards of US$20 million.

That puts total compensation for each of the five senior executives at around US$22.8 million, down from US$25 million the previous year.

Cook didn’t receive any additional stock awards in 2016, but he’s still profiting from the award he received in 2011, when he became CEO. In August 2016 the first 1.26 million of those stock units vested, worth US$136 million. And there’s more to come: Another 2.1 million units that have not yet vested will net Cook a further US$237 million (at their current price) when they do.

Of course, those compensation numbers are all provisional: they still require shareholder approval, something the board is recommending. It is also proposing that shareholders continue to approve executive pay every year, rather than every two or three years, as they may also choose to do.

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