updated 12:43 am EST, Tue December 31, 2013
Cook tied his reward more closely with stock performance over company performance
A move made by Apple CEO Tim Cook and the board of directors at Apple has ended up costing Cook some $4 million in additional bonuses over the previous arrangement, according to proxy statements filed by the company over the weekend. Cook annually receives a stock grant, but because AAPL didn't outperform the overall S&P500 average to which the award is tied, Cook lost about half of the grant, which would currently be worth about $4 million.
Cook is hardly hurting for money: in addition to a $1.4 million salary and double that amount in performance bonuses, he also received stock grants which, if they vested today, would be worth $36 million for a total theoretical 2013 compensation package of $40 million (though only 10 percent of that is actual cash). Reportedly, it was Cook himself that urged the board to put more of his stock award at risk, saying it was out of a "strong desire to set a leadership example in the area of CEO compensation and governance," that he wanted his stock award to be more closely tied to how the company performed on the stock market.
Despite the odd performance of AAPL across 2013, Apple itself had a banner year -- with higher sales of its flagship products, increasing US share against competitors and record revenues. However, concerns about the company's ability to compete in China and other developing markets, a much-delayed deal with China Mobile, a lower percentage of profit growth and a fair amount of what could simply be called market manipulation all combined to see a 26 percent drop in stock value between August of last year and 2013, compared to an average S&P gain of 18 percent. Had those figures been reversed, Cook would not have been awarded more stock -- he could only lose a portion of the existing stock grant if AAPL didn't outperform the S&P, reports CNN Money.
Thus, the entire portion of his vested stock grant that was at risk was wiped out -- around $4 million worth. Ironically, the stock has rebounded and outperformed the S&P500 since August, and is now slightly up for 2013 overall (about 4.2 percent, and up 21 percent since August). Cook has not appeared to be concerned about the loss, and despite earning more than billionaire Steve Jobs' famous $1 Apple salary, Cook has been in a position of refusing extra money from Apple on occasion, such as when the board decided that owners of Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) should receive the same dividend as other investors. At the time, Cook himself was eligible for a dividend award that would have been worth $75 million over 10 years, but he refused it.