“The great seer of tech trends [Apple CEO Steve Jobs] had no idea what was coming – indeed, no idea how much his company, or he himself, was really worth,” Geoff Colvin reports for Fortune.
“When Fortune ran a 2001 cover story (by yours truly) called “The Great CEO Pay Heist”, we put Jobs on the cover because the previous year he had received a mammoth grant of stock options that we calculated was worth $872 million, making it the largest one-year pay package any CEO had ever received,” Colvin reports.
Colvin reports, “Jobs wasn’t ready to give up on Apple options, though; he accepted another huge grant in 2001. Then, in 2003, with Apple (Charts) stock deep in the doldrums, he finally abandoned hope and surrendered both options grants, accepting from the board in their place a big chunk of restricted stock.”
“Now, with benefit of hindsight, let’s get out the calculator and see how smart Jobs looks. That bag of restricted stock he got in 2003 is today worth about $848 million. Not bad. But what about the options he gave up? His first mega-grant, the one that landed him on our cover, would today be in the money not by… the $872 million we said it was worth, but by just over $2.5 billion,” Colvin reports.
Colvin reports, “The other option grant he gave up would today be in the money by just over $1.1 billion. That’s more than $3.6 billion of gain that he traded away for shares that today are worth less than $1 billion… [Steve Jobs] made a trade that will be immortalized as one of the worst ever.”
Jobs exchanges options for 5 million restricted shares – March 21, 2003