→ Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't really make $378 million in 2011

by Michael in

Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't really make $378 million in 2011

Philip Elmer-DeWitt at CNN Money points out that everyone making this talking point is wrong. Tim Cook only gets any of this money (past his $900K salary and barely $15K in 401(K) and life insurance premiums) if he sticks around. This is not the same as the absurd bonuses and kickbacks CEOs of other companies get regardless of their performance. His value is tied directly to performance of the company long-term while under his control. When he was given his restricted stock units worth $376 million, they were only worth that much to Apple. He can't even think about cashing in half of them until 2016 (after 5 years of controlling Apple) and he can't do anything with the other half until 2021 (10 years of running the company). If he doesn't stick around until those times, he doesn't get any of it. If the company tanks before those times, he gets the reduced value.

Tim Cook is being compensated in the distant future according to the company's performance if and only if he continues to run the company. Is there any more reasonable way to value a CEO than by how the company thrives under his control? I think not.