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Apple CEO Tim Cook's 2012 comp package plummets

Gregg Keizer | Jan. 3, 2013
Apple raised CEO Tim Cook's salary by 55% for 2012 and awarded him a $2.8 million bonus, but said the chief executive's pay was still "significantly below the median" of comparable firms.

Cook's base salary rose from $900,000 to $1.4 million in 2012, with the remainder of his compensation coming from a performance-based bonus of $2.8 million. In the SEC filing, Apple said the company exceeded the performance goals for net sales and operating income that had been set earlier, and so Cook and others received the maximum bonus of twice each executive's annual salary.

Cook received the $2.4 million bonus even though Apple's stock has been hammered since September, and in the face of the Apple Maps backlash last summer when customers complained that the replacement for the long-standing Google-powered mapping app was substandard.

Boards can penalize executives for missteps on their watch, said the experts, but obviously didn't think Cook was the one responsible for the Maps mess.

"Rather than hammer Cook, they ignored it," said Buford, who speculated that the board concluded that the move to replace Google's technology with the company's own was former CEO Steve Jobs' decision. "They decided it wasn't on [the current team's] watch," Buford added.

That was in stark contrast to Microsoft, which last fall penalized Steven Sinofsky, the former head of the software giant's Windows division, by setting his 2012 bonus at 60% of the maximum. Microsoft's October proxy statement cited the 3% downturn in his division's revenues and its failure to include a browser ballot in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) for European customers for the smaller bonus.

Because of the browser ballot gaffe -- Microsoft called it a "technical glitch" last summer -- the company faces fines that potentially could climb into the billions.

But Apple executives did not escape unscathed from the Maps fiasco. Scott Forstall, the former head of iOS development who lost his job in October amid the furor over Maps, was absent from last week's proxy statement. In November 2011, Forstall received 150,000 RSUs that were to vest in two chunks in June 2013 and March 2016. The award was then valued at $59.6 million, although at current prices it would be worth $79.8 million.

It's unclear whether Forstall will receive any of those shares, or part or all of a 2010 grant that gave him 100,000 shares which were to begin vesting in 2014. According to Apple, Forstall will leave Apple in 2013, but the company has not disclosed a date. Under Apple's policies, RSUs vest "subject to [an] officer's continued employment with the Company through the applicable vesting dates."

Cook's subordinates received more generous 2012 pay packages than their boss. CFO Peter Oppenheimer; lead counsel Bruce Sewell; head of operations Jeffrey Williams; and Bob Mansfield, who returned from retirement to run the new Technologies division, each received salary increases to $800,000, bonuses of $1.6 million, and stock awards valued between $66.2 million and $83.1 million.


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