Apple execs dominate best-paid list as board retains Steve Jobs’ deputies

“Four of the five highest-paid employees at Standard & Poor’s 500 companies aren’t chief executive officers,” Adam Satariano and Hideki Suzuki report for Bloomberg. “They’re Apple Inc. senior lieutenants receiving compensation packages designed to keep management intact in an increasingly competitive industry.”

“The four executives are Bob Mansfield, Bruce Sewell, Jeffrey Williams and Peter Oppenheimer, according to fiscal 2012 compensation figures for top earners filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” Satariano and Suzuki report. “Last year was the second in a row that payouts at Cupertino, California-based Apple ranked among the most generous. Apple directors, who put CEO Tim Cook at the top of the heap last year, are using compensation to keep the team that transformed the iPhone maker into the most valuable technology company under co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.”

Satariano and Suzuki report, “Apple’s Mansfield received $85.5 million, almost entirely in stock, the second-largest 2012 compensation package in the S&P 500. The total was boosted by the value of a related accounting charge and options that vested earlier than other Apple executives. Mansfield’s base salary was $805,400, matching that for Oppenheimer, Sewell and Williams. Their pay jumped after receiving 150,000 in restricted stock units shortly after Jobs passed away.”

“Since Jobs relinquished control, the only senior executive to leave voluntarily has been retail head Ron Johnson, who served as CEO at J.C. Penney Co. until his ouster this month. Two others, mobile-software head Scott Forstall and Johnson’s successor John Browett, departed under Cook’s management shakeup in October 2012,” Satariano and Suzuki report. “Apple’s strategy appears to be working, since there has been scant turnover, according to Steven Hall, founder of Steven Hall & Partners LLC, a New York-based executive-compensation consulting firm.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Incorrect: Ron Johnson left Apple in June 2011 when Steve Jobs was still very much Apple CEO.

Related articles:
Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple; Tim Cook named CEO, Jobs elected Chairman of the Board – August 24, 2011
Apple’s retail store chief Johnson off to J.C. Penney; expected to become CEO within months – June 14, 2011


  1. Capitalism. Isn’t it great! You should be able to make as much as you can. As long as someone is willing to pay it. Although even I have to admit that these salaries to seem to be unconscionable. But hey, I guess all Apple investors are quite content with paying those salaries. I guess Apple isn’t exactly acting like a start up with those salaries. And I have to wonder about all the negative comments I see about Wall Street here, it seems that the salaries would be at the top of the complaint list. Wall Street doesn’t pay this good. But I guess it’s different?

    1. No, it’s not, Weekendd. While I respect the work that these Apple officers have done, I don’t believe that they should be paid $50M to $100M per year. I said the same thing about the massive stock award to Cook. It was far too much, regardless of how good he is.

      Corporate leaders get this money because of cronyism – incestuous directorships across companies, special compensation boards for top management, etc. The system for these guys is separate, and it sure isn’t equal. Corporate management is the new class of nobility and they are milking companies despite their fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Five to ten million a year should be enough compensation. If they don’t like it and want to work somewhere else, then fine.

  2. These guys are good. They have a lot of skill and work hard. But these numbers show just how messed up the world is. They earn WAY more than they their labor and skill warrant. I hope they do something meaning and good for this world with their lucky gains other than fill an office job.

      1. The questions are: “Who, actually, does the creating?” and “What is just?”

        The products are not the creations of these individuals. At their level they are hiring good people, setting goals for them and letting them go forth and create. It was some grunt draftsman that figured out how to get the last nano-meter out of the circuit layout that let the chips run as fast as they do and a whole host of other fairly brilliant people whose names you will never know. The days when everyone on the team has their names cast into the enclosure are gone. They create. Not minimizing the ability to put together the A-team, but the guys at the top are mostly along for the ride.

        What is just? Ten or twenty times the salary of the average worker seems just. A multiple of 500 to 1000 seems a bit much.

        But it’s not Apples fault. As kingmel pointed out, it’s a rigged game by the biggest bunch of con artists on the face of the planet who are either convinced of their own greatness, despite all objective measures to the contrary, or just crooks disconnected from the rest of society. Why do you think they fight regulation and oversight? They are afraid someone will catch on and the game will end.

        1. But they have ultimate creative control of the direction. Steve Jobs himself axed many developed products or sent back to be pushed for a higher standard. That’s what they make the big money for—the genius and judgement part. Not sitting there themselves with a screwdriver.

          1. That is the setup for the second question” “What is just?” Apple is just a player in the generally corrupt American concept that senior management is some class of nobility that deserves special treatment because of their inherent greatness. Look at company performance numbers, not just Apple. They mostly do not justify the compensation of their senior management.

            The lie that good management will not work for you if you don’t pay them a huge amount of money if false and hurts America. The overcompensated manager knows in his heart what he is worth. Most are craven toadies who will do anything to protect their rice bowls. They take no risks and advance nothing out of fear that any change will rock their boats. Really great managers in really great companies will do the job just to get to be there every day. Their ability to keep score and feel like they are winning comes from somewhere other than their checkbooks.

            1. For some companies you are probably right, esp. at Microsloth (none of who have proved they are worth keeping). I disagree with applying it to Apple. The Steve approved middle management at Apple deserves the money if that’s what it takes to keep them. Apple is at a critical point with the eyes of every critic on them, they need to do what is necessary to keep the crew in place that knows what’s going on and is familiar with Steve’s recipe’s for success.

              I’m not against paying management of an exceptional company with exceptional people that are worth keeping. I don’t blanket every company the same. To just say ALL Sr. corporate management is undeserving of exceptional pay is wrong. Exceptional thinkers need a reward. Money talks as a reward and a thank you. Apple must think these guys contribute enough to valued as “keepers” I trust their judgement. That’s my opinion, you have yours.

            2. I concur that Apple is an exception and one of the very few companies that might justify stratospheric executive compensation based on performance. It’s just that the whole executive talent pool has been tainted by an inbred old-boy network that mostly cover each others backs and line each others pockets to the detriment of America and American workers. And Apple is forced to play in the cesspool.

  3. the lunacy of incestuous board compensation committees continues…

    corporation = feudalism whereby the lords of the manors have no responsibility to anyone but their friends on the board

    “big bad guv’mint”: = poorly paid managers who can be recalled by democratic process (if only the USA actually allowed honest elections instead of the 2-party charade)

    actual honest businesses that care about the local communities where they work and live — the sole proprietorships, the family S-corps, the co-ops: these are the productive entities that maintain communities through thick and thin. They are still waiting for the trickle down.

    1. Waiting for the trickle down? Are those business owners and workers living in poverty or something? They have homes filled clean food and water (and all types of electronic gadgetry), their families, cars, relatively safe communities and the ability to worship freely. Is that not enough of a “trickle”? You don’t need millions of dollars to be happy. You need family and God.

      1. Tell that to near-suicidal Foxconn workers who live in crowded dorms because they have been brainwashed into thinking that they must work 16 hours per day to support their families.

        The majority of the planet doesn’t rely on any deity for happiness. Happiness is a state of mind — a human condition. If you find yourself in a dependent relationship, i recommend you find a less demanding deity. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is as good as any, and much tastier.

  4. I can only imagine what it would be like here if the high paid executives were Google employees. There would be 100 responses and they would all be violent. MDN must think those salaries are okay.

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