The bad news for Apple CEOis that he took a 99 percent pay cut in 2012. In his first full year as CEO, Mr. Cook made Apple, Inc. the most valuable company of all time -- yet still took an incredibly drastic pay cut in his compensation package.
The good news for Apple CEO Tim Cook is that he made nearly half a billion dollars in stock and compensation in 2011, so he is probably not terribly concerned about his 2012 base salary.
Year-end documents have been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showing that the Apple CEO took a 99 percent pay cut in 2012 compared to his 2011 compensation. Mr. Cook made "only" $4.2 million in 2012 -- a combination of his $1.4 million base salary, a $2.8 million bonus, and a measly $17,000 contribution to his 401(k).
In 2011, Mr. Cook's compensation was valued at nearly $400 million, bolstered by a grant of a million shares of the incredibly valuable Apple stock. Apple stock is currently trading at more than $500 per share -- up 27 percent for the year -- so a million of those represent a serious chunk of change.
Mr. Cook was actually paid a far lower compensation package this year than many of the people who report to him as employees. Apple's SVP of technologies Bob Mansfield was paid out $85.5 million in 2012. Apple's supply chain manager made nearly $70 million. Apple's top lawyer Bruce Sewell made $69 million in 2012 -- a 700 percent raise over his 2011 compensation. Then again, Mr. Sewell won a pretty big case this year.
On one hand, yes -- Mr. Cook made 99 percent less overall than he did last year. Technically, though, his base salary increased dramatically. Last year, his base salary was $900,000. In 2012, Mr. Cook's base salary jumped up to $1.4 million. The point here is that Apple compensates its top-level employees primarily in stock options, not in salary -- accounting for wild swings in annual compensation plans.
In the Tim Cook era at Apple, this is what you might call Cooking the books.