New Apple CEO Gets $400M Stock Award
Apple has announced that it is giving its new CEO Tim Cook a one-time stock award worth nearly $400 million, the largest such award given by any company in roughly a decade.
Apple’s legendary creator Steve Jobs turned over the reins to his long-time lieutenant shortly before his death last August. Insiders say that the decision of the company’s board to grant Mr. Cook a million restricted stock units (RSUs) was largely a gesture to indicate its confidence in his competence as a manager.
Based on the closing price of company shares on August 24 of last year, Apple reported that the shares awarded to Mr. Cook had a total value of over $376 million and rising.
Half of the stock award will vest in 2016 and the other half in 2021.
“As far as a singular award, we haven’t seen anything this large in a long time,” Aaron Boyd, research director at the executive compensation data firm Equilar, told Alexei Oreskovic of Reuters.
Ironically, the only larger one-time stock award in recent years was given to Jobs himself by Apple in 2000. At the time, the 40 million options received by the iconic Apple founder and entrepreneur were worth some $600 million.
In what has become one of the most well-known corporate dramas of all time, Apple gave Jobs the boot in the mid-1980s, after which he returned in 1997 to transform his prodigal brainchild into the world’s most innovative and successful manufacturer of personal technology.
Jobs has become known as the brilliant unconventional creator of wildly popular devices like the iPad, iPod and iPhone, as well as the man who beautified capitalism.
During his final three years as head of Apple, Jobs took a nominal salary of only $1 a year.
After years of revolutionizing the technology industry and, indeed, the world, Mr. Jobs passed away in October following an eight-year struggle with pancreatic cancer.
According to company filings, Cook’s annual salary for 2011 was under a million dollars. Apple said the stock award was both a way of showing its appreciation for Cook’s able leadership as stand-in CEO during Jobs’ numerous medical leaves as well as a way of keeping him on board in the event that he receives a lucrative offer from another company.
“The Board views [Cook’s] retention as CEO as critical to the company’s success and smooth leadership transition. The RSU award is intended as a long-term retention incentive,” said Apple in its press statement.
Apple’s shares reached a record-breaking high of $427.75 early on Monday and closed out the day at $421.73.
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