Apple shareholders urged to oppose Cook’s $99-million pay package

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook
Last year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook received stock awards valued at $82 million at the time, as well as a $12-million cash bonus, a $3-million salary and other compensation.
(Brooks Kraft / Associated Press)
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Apple investors should vote against the $99-million pay package awarded last year to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, a shareholder advisor firm recommends.

Half of Cook’s 2021 award is time-based and doesn’t depend on satisfying performance criteria such as increases in Apple’s share price, Rockville, Md.-based Institutional Shareholder Services said in a report. Moreover, even if Cook, 61, were to retire, the award would continue to vest, ISS said in urging shareholders to oppose the pay package at the company’s annual meeting on March 4.

“There are significant concerns regarding the design and magnitude of the equity award made to CEO Cook,” ISS said in the report.


A spokesperson for Cupertino-based Apple declined to comment on the ISS report.

The bulk of a corporate executive’s pay is often in the form of stock or options, and often comes with restrictions or performance criteria designed to give incentives to remain at the company. Last year, Cook received stock awards valued at $82 million at the time, as well as a $12-million cash bonus, a $3-million salary and other compensation.

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It was the first pay package that Cook received after collecting a $750-million moonshot award that Apple gave him after he took over from Steve Jobs 10 years ago. Cook defied some critics who anticipated that Apple’s star would fade in the post-Jobs era. Since 2011, Apple’s total shareholder return has exceeded 1,000%, raising the company’s market value to $2.8 trillion.

Apple disclosed how much it paid Cook in a filing last month and will now put the compensation to a nonbinding vote. Cook’s 2021 package included new equity awards that could provide him with as many as 1 million shares by 2025.

Apple has already granted Cook a pay package for 2022. In September, he was given an award of restricted stock that could potentially amount to more than 750,000 shares.

Apple shareholders have been supportive of Cook and other executives’ pay in the past. At the 2021 annual meeting, 95% of votes cast backed its executive compensation program.

The Financial Times reported on ISS’s recommendation earlier Wednesday.