updated 04:06 pm EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg tops high-tech
Apple CEO Tim Cook pulled in $73.9 million in compensation during 2013, according to data compiled by USA Today. That included a $4.3 million salary, and $69.6 million in vested stock options Cook had been awarded several years ago. The figures were enough to rank Cook second among a list of best-paid Silicon Valley executives, but this year's payout was atypical for the Apple CEO.
Vastly outpacing anyone on the list was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who reaped $3.9 billion after cashing in $3.3 billion in stock options. HP leader Meg Whitman, in third place, took home a comparatively small $17.6 million.
Ranking CEO income versus a company's net income, Zuckerberg received $2.2 billion for every $1 billion generated by Facebook. Including the stock, Cook managed $2 million for every billion earned, while Whitman got $3.4 million.
Compensation consultant Alan Johnson tells USA Today that the gap between what executives make versus what the average worker does is increasing, and could be a problem. "The extremes are getting bigger and run smack dab into the debate of income inequality," he says. "Boards are quite concerned over how executive compensation will be perceived." He nevertheless argues that boards shouldn't worry about sharing money more equally, and should instead peg compensation to how much shareholder value an executive is worth.