Apple’s Peter Oppenheimer takes lead in CFO pay

“Apple Inc.’s stock price has fallen nearly 42% from its all-time high of $702.10 a share last September, but the gadget maker has risen to the top by another measure: the amount it pays its chief financial officer,” James Willhite reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Last year Apple awarded CFO Peter Oppenheimer a pay package valued at $68.6 million, the biggest in at least three years for any finance chief of a Standard & Poor’s 500 company,” Willhite reports. “Mr. Oppenheimer received just $1.4 million in 2011 because it is Apple’s practice to make stock grants—the biggest component of his 2012 pay—every two years. Last year he received a stock award valued at $66.2 million at the time of the grant; it will vest over a period of years.”

Willhite reports, “The second-highest-paid CFO was Oracle Corp.’s Safra Catz, who is also president of the computer software and hardware maker. Her pay for the company’s fiscal year ended May 31, 2012, the most recent year for which data were available, was valued at $51.7 million. The lion’s share came in the form of stock options worth $48.3 million at the time of the grant.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: CFOs do not set their companies’ share prices.

Oppenheimer is worth every penny and then some.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rainy Day” for the heads up.]


  1. I disagree with MDN. Greed and avarice are never good principals for a company. It’s a sickness that poisons our society that anyone believes that kind of compensation is “worth every penny”.

    1. 68.6 Million is about 900x the wage of an engineer making $75k. The people who actually design and make the product.

      If 900 engineers quit tomorrow, or if 1 Peter Oppenheimer quit tomorrow, which one would have the largest impact?

      Hint: That’s close to 10% of Apple’s staff.

      This is not a flaw with Apple, per se. It’s a flaw with the American glorification and justification of wealth.

      And cut the “commie talk.” Look at a country like Japan which has a linear progression in pay scales. In general, the CEO of a company doesn’t make an exponential amount more than the line-workers. Their pay scales run far more linearly. As a result, there is a much more even distribution of wealth. And anyone who says Japan is communist has never been there.

      1. I don’t think most people can really understand how much money $68M is. To think that one person is paid that much for one year is beyond any reason. But, hey, why try to comprehend these things when you can just ad hominem your way out of an argument? Works on Fox.

      1. Greed has also resulted in a great deal of damage to society, the most recent example being the near collapse of the U.S. financial system. Overall, I believe that greed has been a damaging influence on society, and I would be glad to argue this issue with Stossel.

    2. I have to agree. If someone needs 60+ million incentive to do any job, something is wrong. Executive pay and obscene concentration of wealth in this country is perverting democracy. one company alone, however, cannot be expected to thwart excesses; there is no ‘easy’ way. In some respects, decreasing reimbursement can paradoxically increase productivity; why work harder, if frankly, one years compensation could support several generations of ones family for their lifetimes.

  2. You know that a company has lost its way when the bean counter gets more money than the entire engineering team.

    Apple, cutting its R&D budget to the bone while the bean counter gets to take home obscene amounts of money.

    No wonder they’ve had to copy WP8, W8, Android & webOS for the pile of dogshit that is iOS 7. There’s no money left to pay proper icon designers.

  3. If Oppenheimer is “worth every penny”, then you pay that obscene salary. No single human can possibly be worth that – dozens of candidates could do just as well for 1/10 the pay.

  4. I’m afraid both you commenters and MDN have misreported this story (it’s not really MDN’s fault, they just parrot other sources, which also frequently get the story wrong).

    1. Peter Oppenheimer did NOT receive $68 million dollars. Read the first line of the second paragraph again: valued at $68.6 million. Translation: he got some stock options that may be worth more — or LESS — in whatever future years he’s allowed to act on them. They may well be RSUs, which become valueless if he leaves Apple before a certain amount of time. In short, the amount quoted is completely theoretical.

    His actual cash salary is $2.4 million, not $68.6 million (this is, btw, the exact same amount he got last year). Given that there are reasonably good odds that the US stock market will collapse within the decade, I’d say he’s worth every penny of the $2.4 and the rest of it is an iffy maybe.

  5. What hypocrites. There is not a person among you who would turn down this kind of compensation if you could get it. How many of you would take the pay of a ditch digger if you are an educated, experienced, intelligent engineer? Should the ditch digger be incensed because you make more than him. How could you possibly be worth it?

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