Apple’s Tim Cook reaped $145 million last year, most of S&P 500 CEOs

“Don’t be fooled by Tim Cook’s 2016 reported pay of $8.75 million, which ranked the Apple Inc. chief executive officer in the bottom third of all CEOs in the S&P 500,” Laurie Meisler, Alicia Ritcey, and Jenn Zhao report for Bloomberg. “Cook, 56, actually took home $145 million, almost all of it from awards granted back in 2011.”

“Take-home pay for the top 25 S&P 500 CEOs who served in their positions for the last full fiscal year totaled about $1.65 billion,” Meisler, Ritcey, and Zhao report. “Bosses in the technology, health care and media industries dominated the list.”

“Take-home pay is the sum of the values of stock vested and options exercised during the fiscal year, along with cash from salaries, bonuses and perks,” Meisler, Ritcey, and Zhao report. “Cook has now amassed more than $320 million from vested shares of the 2011 award. His $145 million total take-home pay for fiscal 2016 also includes a $3 million salary, a $5.37 million cash bonus and $377,719 in perks. In a 2015 interview with Fortune magazine, Cook said he plans to donate his fortune to philanthropy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in January 2012:

Tim Cook’s stock award was put in place to help insure that he stays for at least 10 years. It’s also an impetus for Cook to keep delivering, so that when his stock vests, his shares are worth as much as possible… Beyond Cook’s obvious skills, this insurance policy is worth much more than $376 million to Apple in terms of continuity and having a smooth CEO succession.

Today, the interns came up to us and asked if they should TTK which just goes to show that, yes, even interns can learn something! We kid. We love the interns. And, what’s not to love? They bring us coffee, snacks, and beer!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “botvinnik” for the heads up.]


  1. Well, people, do you think Tim Cook earned this?

    Were the products or services that you obtained from Apple commensurate with Tim Cook’s compensation?

        1. What’s obviously wrong is that Apple is avoiding Dan because they are alarmed by the out-of-place period costumes he personally field-tests for stage productions. Clearly Apple geniuses are not “costumer focused.”

    1. Over practically a six year period the largest Cap Value stock ever has averaged a 19.6% compounded rate of growth in stock price, almost tripling stockholder wealth, while increasing dividends. He may not be the end all and a disappointment to some, but by the brutal measurements set up by the compensation committee, he has done well. It is hard to say what could have been, but it is hard to complain about the company performance with a straight face. Clearly none of the company’s mis-steps or boondoggles killed them and they continue to be fabulously profitable. I hope if I am ever reviled for my leadership of an organization it is because of these kind of results.

      1. The compensation committee set it up to be based almost exclusively on the stock price. That’s not so bad for the stockholders, but it’s not that good for Apple’s customer base. The current setup makes it so that Tim (and the rest of the executive staff) focus on the company, the stock price, and Wall Street’s impression of Apple and not the products (just FYI, Jobs focus was the other way around).

        This is not much different than the first five years of Scully. The stock price went way up. Apple’s sales went way up. The hype went way up. The products slowly fizzled. We all know where the company went after that.

        Apple needs to come out with a TRUE Pro iPad. Apple needs to come out with a new, state-of-the-art Mac mini. Apple needs to come out with a new, state-of-the-art Apple TV. (Why is it that others have been shipping UHDTV capable boxes for up through two years and the Apple TV is STILL stuck at 1080p?) Apple needs to ship a new, proper Mac Pro (hopefully before spring or summer of 2018). Even many of the Services need fixing: iCloud, iTunes, etc.

        Apple needs to stop saying things like the new login procedure for your AppleID is Two Factor. It won’t be. It is still Two Step. The channels for the information are not 100% independent. Apple, under Jobs, was right to call it Two Step. It was far better than many of that era, but some have moved on to true Two Factor login. Apple should move to the forefront of that.

        This is not to say that Apple under Tim Cook is bad. It is just not what it could — and should — be.

        1. I suspected Apple under Cook was always more concerned with money, Wall Street than with customers and products.

          Excellent list of what Apple needs to fix …

    1. Cook doesn’t deserve it according to you on any other day of the week rants. Make up your underequipped mind.

      Jobs took $1 salary plus backdated stock options. The average CEO makes somewhere around $17 million per year for the exact same work. Still too much.

            1. No, Dean botvinnik Clark is a completely unbalanced asswipe. See above how the cretin personally attacks Sarah. So sad to see MDN enables such assholes to ruin what could be a Mac dialogue.

          1. ducat… jailhouse term for money.. money, money, money. You should be getting hard about now bottwipe.. lusting after money.. the coal mine opening soon… is that soon with 2 o’s or 15.

            We used to say that. One of those pioneer computer stories. When will the new product be ready we would ask (insert mover and shaker here)…..Is it soon with 2. 3. 4. 5. … o’s? You do know what 3 dots mean, right?

            1. ducat |ˈdəkət|
              1 a gold coin formerly current in most European countries.
              • (ducats) informal money: their production of Hamlet has kept the ducats pouring in.


            1. can I blame it on my fingers? for example the little finger on my left hand is at a 90 degree angle at the knuckle. You know how some seniors fingers draw up and can no longer be straightened . My Doctor (excellent health insurance by the way, my company and Great State of California make sure of that) says they have an enzyme they can inject into the tendons and fix those problems but they won’t do it until it is very severe.

              Can I blame it on my fingers?

            2. PS: You didn’t make a typographical error that could plausibly be blamed on a physical condition, your error was using the wrong fucking word.

              you lose.


            3. “We know what this is, space. That’s all it has to say: space,” Trump said as he prepared to sign his executive order. He then turned to Aldrin and asked, “There’s a lot of room out there, right?”

              “To infinity, and beyond,” Aldrin quipped as others laughed. But Trump apparently didn’t get the reference to Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase in “Toy Story.”

              “This is infinity here. It could be infinity,” Trump answered in a rambling response. “We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — but it could be infinity, right?”

            4. LOL… bottwipe. Maybe i did it on purpose to give your life meaning. Or maybe the spasms my 2nd and middle finger have when I try to straighten my little finger to get it out of the way, caused the mis-spelling. Maybe i’m just fuckin with you…. buddy.

            5. Sorry bottwipe.. ultimately, deep down inside, I’m a hippie. Unrepentant hippie and want to buy the world a coke and I just want to give you a hug. Love is all you need bottwipe.

            6. From what you have expressed here on MDN with your incessant and annoying obsession with me, your life has been a series of drug abuse, race-baiting, lying, imprisonment, vandalism and pretension.

              You will just have to accept that good people do not admire those traits.

        1. The stockholders do not approve it, thetheloniusmac. The BoD has a compensation committee which may hire outside consultants. They set the compensation for the CEO. Stockholders elect the board, but the system is typically dominated by a few major shareholders and the system is set up to elect the candidates “recommended” by the board. So the control of the shareholders is abstracted by the BoD, and only the major shareholders have any real power.

          As a shareholder in Apple, it certainly IS up to me how much compensation Cook receives. No, it is not up to the government, unless the Feds need to step in to correct a corrupt system that is failing its fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders (owners) and treating the corporate bank accounts like their own personal piggy banks.

        2. You think these people pay taxes like everyone else?

          People I hang out with don’t use corporate assets as their private resources or hire large staff of financial accountants and personal assistants to manage multiple estates and overseas havens.

          The average professional has neither the time nor the extreme compensation to achieve the tax avoidance schemes that the independently wealthy class creates for themselves.

          The typical entrepreneur launching a new company works harder, makes more influential decisions, and bears infinitely more personal risk. They deserve the rewards. The professional management who eventually climb their way up to the top of the political ladder are often the backstabbing political assholes who are good at taking credit for other peoples work. You can see this in every huge organization.

      1. I agree, Sarah. The botvinnik hypocrisy is often astounding, even Trumpian.

        I said this six years ago, and I will say it again – no CEO deserves that much compensation. I respect Cook’s abilities and I have supported him when many others were hyper-critical of him. But no CEO deserves that kind of compensation. Given the many tens of millions in the workforce, you cannot make a convincing argument that the best available people are currently CEOs of the top corporations. If this were truly merit-based free enterprise, those other people would have their chance and the competition would theoretically drive down CEO salaries. But corporate management is a rigged system favoring the insiders and completely separate rules are applied to The compensation of CEOs and other corporate officers.

        Some people are arguing, “Apple performed well over the past eight years.” And I would agree that Apple has prospered financially and in the stock market. Cook undoubtedly deserves some credit for that. But so do all Apple employees. And Cook’s compensation arrangement is such that he would have received a great deal of compensation even if Apple had not done so well. That is typical of most CEOs…they either get a huge amount of money or an enormous amount of money, even in cases of abject failure and firing.

        I have been downvoted in the past for making these comments. But I have to believe that people really don’t understand the situation. This isn’t “free” money being given to CEOs. There is not such thing. This is shareholder money, which means that some of it may be your money from your IRA or 401K or mutual fund. CEO overcompensation is just another fee on investors and drag on ROI.

  2. All CEOs of these major companies are overpaid.
    Is one man, in this case Tim Cook, worth more to Apple than 10% of its Cupertino workforce?

    If 1,200 engineers quit tomorrow… or Tim Cook quit tomorrow… which would have the largest impact long-term?

    Seriously, folks… all these people have positions to fill… they’re all spokes in the wheel… and Tim’s just one of the spokes.

    1. Well yeah. Find another CEO for Apple. You won’t find it in that 10%, guaranteed. People that can just hold their own in these positions are difficult to find. Ask the last CEO of yahoo how hard it is, and she’s got a genius level IQ. Cook was selected and groomed by Steve Jobs. You don’t just hire a suit and stick it behind a desk.

        1. Hardly, Herself…you usually spot the rational flaws, but failed in his case (unless you simply forgot to append the /s or meant that he was “fair and balanced” in the manner of Fox News).

          1. That’s where you’re wrong. I don’t look for rational flaws. I look for signs that a person has enough compassion, enough humanity, to pause, if only for a moment in his assault on an opponent, to grant a grace point. I respect that smidgen of humanity far more than the ferocity of the assault, or the tortured ingenuity in constructing a rational defence of the assault. I look to Alexander the Great. He was second to none on the battlefield and feared no man. But he had compassion, and that made him wiser than the man who takes no prisoners and brags about it.

            1. Compassion in the absence of rationality? Now that sounds like the radical left. Self-interest in the absence of compassion, that is the radical right. Compassion blended with reason and pragmatism – the moderate center. This country needs to move towards the middle.

              I am sorry that I misread you, Herself. I will keep your admonition in mind when I read your posts in the future.

            2. It’s all so easy to be bloodthirsty in a virtual theatre. The bluster of internet commenters is thin. They daren’t risk a bloody nose over their impertinent remarks facing someone in the flesh.

      1. No one is suggesting that you can just slap anyone in the CEO spot and expect success. But a genius-level IQ is no guarantee, either. Besides, a genius-level IQ is not that rare…check out the membership of Mensa and then multiply that number by two or three, at least. I was tested to be 10 points above the genius threshold, and I don’t belong to Mensa. I also know a reasonable number of other highly intelligent people and I can tell you that core intellect is only one of many factors to consider.

        A large company should groom a couple of dozen people for upper management positions. In addition, a CEO does not have to come from within. Furthermore, boards tend to only look at similar levels of people, thus overlooking many qualified people who are not currently CEOs for some reason. I can state with great confidence that merit is often not the dominant factor in promotions. In some cases, it appears to be a rather insignificant factor. Face it, leaders only look to other leaders…they only consider their peers to be sufficiently competent. That is why women and minorities are having difficulty breaking into the upper ranks. It is a chicken-and-egg situation in which women and minorities have to become leaders in order to help more women and minorities become leaders.

        And who are you to say that one or more great CEOs is not lurking in those 1000 or so people that share the equivalent compensation of Cook. You are making a totally unsupported assumption.

  3. Running a business .0001 the size of Apple effectively is something only 1/1000 of us could do and it gets geometrically more difficult as it gets larger. There seems to be a certain level of arrogance and/or naïveté on this board that assumes they have close to enough information to have an opinion on this. The simple fact from an economic standpoint is that he IS worth it because self interested people in charge of the money are willing to pay him that much AND the lion’s share of that HUGE compensation package comes from incentives that pale compared to what was made by the shareholders.

    Now let’s talk about complexity:
    How many countries does Apple operate in for manufacturing? How many for sales?
    How many languages do they support?
    What kind of international acumen does it take to secure the various raw materials necessary to build 200,000,000 iPhones in one year while planning for the manufacture of a new version next year? That is just one product.
    How many materials do they use in their products that were completely experimental less than 5 years ago?
    How many high priced CEOS did Apple have between the Jobs eras that completely failed?

    What I am trying to point out is that this is infinitely harder than it looks and we don’t have a single clue of what it even looks like. One of the best things I like about Tim Cook is that he seems to understand that he is a steward of the company. He seems to be devoid of the common arrogance of people in his position who act like they created the juggernaut they now control. He seems to realize that he is a pinch runner who was put on third base, not the guy who hit the triple, while at the same time being fully focused on scoring the winning run.

    Like a lot of people on this board I bristle at some of his forays into social engineering, but I will begrudgingly say that his success gives him the platform. When Ted Williams hit a home run in Boston and circled the bases flipping off the whole stadium (primarily the sports writers,) the press wanted to know what the owner was going to do about it…..the owner responded, “right now Mr. Williams is hitting over .400 and leads the league in home runs slugging and RBI, if and when any of that changes I may have a meeting with him.”

    When CEOs start getting raises and paid better from year to year while their shareholders are worse off is when the vitriol should begin flying. But in a year where a guy’s company made more money than any company ever, I believe he deserves at least a begrudging “good job” even if it comes with “I certainly hope you can do better next year” 😀

    1. Right in every respect except…those ‘forays’ into aspects and the concerns of society, along with the environment, man-made climate change, gender equality, education and so on…are now part and parcel of the job, for any CEO of a major corporation. And pity the poor fool who rides roughshod over the concerns of employees and customers. Just ask Uber.
      TC is simply doing a brilliant job, in his own way…the results speak for themselves. His remuneration was set five years ago when expectations were tempered by a very difficult period post-banking collapses. He obviously and spectacularly exceeded those expectations. And my stock pot agrees.

    2. A well thought out post, that is both respectable and, ‘gasp’ intelligent. Please take this response in that vein.

      You’re neglecting diminishing employee impact that comes with corporate size. That holds for the CEO as well. How much can one person’s labor be worth? To a pure capitalist, they sky is the limit. There’s no reason to invoke ‘socialist’ measures to limit one’s salary… many a multi-million dollar salesmen get fired for simply being owed multi-millions of dollars.

      So you would argue, ‘Cook needs to be paid that in order to keep him’. Sorry, but that rings hollow. No CEO should need to work that hard, and be paid that kind of money either. There is no measure of work that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year. This is not about the quality of his performance, but what is his performance really worth?

      Yes, Apple is a large complex organization. Isn’t this why they have 10s upon 10s of thousands of ‘world class’ employees? Do they get disproportionately compensated as much as the CEO?

      1. Good point, but history is replete with ego maniacal new CEOS who completely destroy the work of the rank in file in the interest of creating their legacy. I think it is somewhat rare that an executive stifles those urges. Of course it is hard to truly “justify” that kind of money. But others have made more while doing less.

    3. Delegates handle the details. Cook is monolingual and has trouble making quick decisions. Luckily he inherited a gold mine. Now you claim that because Jobs liked him therefore he should take as much of the gold as he can?

      1. No, I am saying if you want him to do something different, have the compensation committee put different incentives in place. The ones they had for last year were hit out of the park and when they were put in place everyone involved probably thought it was pie in the sky to think he would attain those levels. Other people might have been able to preside over this, but he DID preside over last year’s results.

        My advice is to buy some shares, contact the board and suggest some other metrics that promise to move Apple to even higher levels.

        To harsh a guy for successfully holding up his end of the deal seems like bad form.

    4. Clueless Cook is a caretaker CEO. Period. No vision, no inspiration, no detailed tech experience. He is as appealing as wet warped plywood. He needs to move on to a warm island. And the Apple board needs to bring in a tech genius like Scott Forstall to guide the Apple ship to greater heights …

  4. Gotta say AppleCare rules. The problem has been the lack of focus and interesting products. He hasn’t done much for that $145 million. What happened to the Nano being sort of an experimental product line? Where’s the classic solid state anniversary iPod? The watch is good, what else is really going on. Meh.

  5. And now you know why the company slapped a “pro” label on an otherwise no-different tablet and used it to justify a price hike to $650 for said tablet.

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