Jobs tops highest-paid US CEO list; $219 million a year

“One group seems to have totally escaped the hard economic times of the last three years: chief executive officers of major U.S. companies. Would you believe average annual pay of $12 million a year? A review of total pay from 2000 through 2002 for 243 CEOs running companies with 2002 revenue of $5 billion or more also shows that total pay ranged from a low of $336,000 a year received by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett to $219 million a year for Steve Jobs of Apple Computer Inc.,” reports Graef Crystal for Bloomberg.

“Besides having the group’s highest three-year average annual pay, Jobs also wins my Most-Ludicrous-Pay-Package trophy, which isn’t awarded every year. When Jobs returned to Apple in August 1997 to run the company he co-founded, he started out with a pay package of precisely one element — $1 a year in salary. Then, in a stunning display of love gone out of control, Jobs’ board in 2000 gave him title to a free Gulfstream 5 jet for his personal use and also history’s most valuable stock option grant, one covering 20 million shares, equal to about 6 percent of all outstanding shares. The jet, including reimbursing Jobs for all of his taxes on the gift, as well as the taxes on the taxes on the taxes, set back the shareholders $84 million. In fiscal 2002, after it became clear his 20 million option shares weren’t likely to rise out of the muck of San Francisco Bay, Jobs’s board gave him options on another 7.5 million shares. In March 2003, after the end of my study period, Jobs gave up the ghost entirely on stock options. He turned in his 27.5 million option shares for a grant of five million free shares worth $74.6 million,” Crystal reports.

Full article and “Top 15 Overpaid and Underpaid US CEOs” here.

MacDailyNews: Worth every penny. Without Jobs there would not be an Apple Computer, Inc. today; instead there is a profitable and innovative Apple in the midst of the toughest personal computer business climate the industry has ever seen.


  1. I’ve posted this elsewhere but still don’t have an answer so I’m posting here…

    I’m not a math whiz AT ALL, but I’m apparently MUCH slower than Equilar, the provider of the compensation information.
    In 2000 he gets a jet and options for 20 million shares which is $84 million.
    In 2002, another fiscal year, his options are worth nothing. So, he’s given another 7.5 million shares…no value listed.
    In 2003, AFTER his study period, the worthless 27.5 million shares are converted to 5 million REAL shares for 74.6 million. However, since this is outside his stated study period, it shouldn’t be counted.

    The only number I see is $84 million in 2000, no number is given for 2002 and his stated 2003 numbers don’t count so WHERE in the WORLD is the missing money that would add up to an average of $219 million a year? I know there’s probably some unlisted numbers he deemed too small to mention, but if I were going to write an article about Steve Jobs making $219 million a year, I’d be sure that in at least ONE year, I showed the $219 million.

    But I do admit, maybe the dollars are right there in front of me after an accountant’s massaging, but I’m no accountant. Can someone help out?

  2. Looks like $159 million to me and not $219 Mil. This guy needs to tell us where the extra $60 million came from if he’s going to quote a specific amount like that. And does this include money from Pixar too? Sure it’s too much pay for any one man, but then again, at least he’s doing a better job of running Apple and Pixar than 95% of the other CEOs out there in the world are doing running their companies.

  3. it really is something isn’t is? I mean I agree that SJ is worth quite a bit in the sense that without him there might not even be an Apple today. But come on!!!! 219 MILLION a YEAR!!!! I think Jeff is correct. Even scrape by on 100 million. Is that much money really necessary for ANYONE??? Us poor slobs that make 5 figure salaries and save and save and save just to buy a $1500 computer from the company we love and then we see that the CEO makes $219 million dollars???!!!! In a way, it’s really a slap in the face!

  4. In living standards is there really much difference between 20 million per year and 200 million? I wouldn’t know what on earth to do with that. Seems a bit ludicrous, but then again, he’s entitled to play God IMHO.

  5. Just ask Bill Gates if $219 Million is enough to live off of. I’m sure he’d tell you there is a big standard of living difference. Before you ask Steve to give you some of his pay toward the price of a Mac that actually works, how about getting some from Microsoft to go toward their stuff that doesn’t even work well first…

  6. How do you get $219M per year from $84M in 2000 (Gulfstream V + taxes) and $74.6 in 2003 (5M shares traded for 27.5M options)? The article does not provide any more information than that to back up their tabulated data. In fact, they only documented $158.6M in income for two years.

    The way I figure it, $219M per year adds up to $876M over the four year period from 2000 to 2003. Subtract the $158.6M specifically identified in the article and that leaves $717.4M or roughly $179.3M per year unaccounted for. Something isn’t right.

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