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Apple's Steve Jobs was top paid CEO: $647m

updated 07:25 pm EDT, Thu May 3, 2007

Jobs: top paid CEO in 2006

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was the top paid CEO last year with nearly $647 million in total compensation--nearly double of the next highest paid exec--despite a meager salary of only $1. The publication notes that chief executives of America's 500 biggest companies got a collective 38 percent pay raise last year, to $7.5 billion -- or an average of $15.2 million.

In its historical perspective, Forbes reports that exercised stock options are still the main component of most executives' pay. In 2006, stock gains accounted for 48 percent of $7.5 billion earned by the 200 top CEOs the publication tracked. Other technology CEOs in the top 10 included Yahoo's Terry Semel and Dell's Michael Dell.

Ray R Irani of Occidental Petroleum was No. 2 with $322 million in compensation, while Barry Diller (IAC/InterActiveCorp, $295m), William P Foley II (Fidelity, $180m), Terry S Semel (Yahoo, $174m), Michael S Dell (Dell, $153m), Angelo R Mozilo (Countrywide Financial, $142m), Michael S Jeffries (Abercrombie & Fitch, $115m), Kenneth D Lewis (Bank of America, $100m), and Henry C Duques (First Data, $98m) were others among the top 10, as ranked by the publication.

Earlier, SEC reports indicated that Apple's chief financial officer earned nearly $71 million in 2006: CFO Peter Oppenheimer earned $56 million from the exercise of options during 2006 and also received a $615,000 salary along with a $450,000 bonus and restricted stock valued at $14 million.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Pismo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And Steve is worth every penny!

  1. dashiel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no, he's not.

    i'm the biggest steve fan boy in the world (i stole his water bottle after a seybold keynote in '97), but no one is worth $650 million a year. it's absurd and disgusting the amount of money CEOs get today.

    at least steve is actually making apple money, unlike some of the other grossly over-paid ceos.

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    very misleading figure

    From the article ( ) "We count compensation when it turns into cash or marketable stock; we do not value or count options until the executive exercises them."

    Steve was given a bunch of stock options some years ago that were due to be vested this year. Those options were given to Steve back then, but didn't count as "compensation" that year to Forbes. Now, the Apple stock price is some multiple of what it was back then, and Forbes counts it.

    Suppose I bought you a 1000 shares of AAPL three years ago for $35,000 but told you couldn't do anything with the shares until today (they you are yours, I can't revoke this promise). Today the stock is worth $100,000. What really happened? Did I give you $100,000 today or did I give you $35,000 three years ago?

    In any case this didn't cost Apple $650 million this year.

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969


    yes, he earned it

    Steve quite literally earned it. His income was directly related to the performance of the company. If he had underperformed and Apple had floundered, he would have very little (if they had done very poorly and the stock had dropped, he would have not cashed in his options, thereby receiving nothing). But since they've done very well under his guidance he's made out equally well. Stock options make sense for board members, since they're tied to company performance.

  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Better to pay…

    $647 million to a guy who would still be sitting in his garage today trying to create things like the Mac, iPod or iPhone if he had to, rather than the billions of dollars Billy Boy makes to do what? Rehash the latest version of DOS that he bought off another guy so he could get rich.

    Here's to making a quality product.

  1. Swift

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not quite fair

    He was vested years ago. If he hadn't done so well, this check might have been for $50 million. Or nothing. And this is not $650 million a year -- this works out to about $110 million a year. Lots of money, but not "tops in compensation.

  1. virtudesign

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if sSteve Jobs didn't...

    come back, Apple would be bankrupt by now, M$ will probably charge service packs for XP instead of developing new OS and everyone would still be carrying portable CDs to the gym. I say double whatever he got :P

  1. notehead

    Joined: Dec 1969


    he earned it, but...

    Nobody needs that kind of money. I don't dispute that he earned it, quite literally, but I'd be curious to know what he's doing with it. There's a lot of mud we can sling (gleefully) at Bill Gates, but you can't deny his philanthropy. I hope Jobs is similarly generous.

  1. marco114

    Joined: Dec 1969


    you think that's alot..

    Look on Yahoo at how much stock Bill Gates sells every month. You're jaw would drop.

    In May already, granted today is the 7th and we've had a weekend, Gates has cashed in on $160million.

    In April, Gates cashed in about $600 million of stock.

    In two months, $760 million.

  1. UNTeMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    obscene considering

    Who really needs 650 million in one year? I cannot and probably will never understand how the super-rich can responsibly make so much money when there are so many people who barely get by. Charity is one thing...but multiple houses with 5 figure square footages? I thought we were past the feudal days.

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