Apple is the richest company, so where are all the billionaires?

“Finding billionaires in Silicon Valley isn’t hard,” Tom Metcalf and Anders Melin report for Bloomberg. “But tracking down members of the three-comma club at Apple Inc. is a less fruitful endeavor, even though the iPhone-maker is the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of $879 billion.”

“Chairman Art Levinson is the only insider to make the cut, and Apple stock accounts for just 20 percent of his $1 billion fortune, according to regulatory filings. The rest comes from his long tenure at Genentech Inc., where he was chairman and chief executive officer, and an early stake in Google Inc.,” Metcalf and Melin report. “CEO Tim Cook has a $600 million fortune, which reflects a pay program that’s restrained relative to the company’s size and performance… Cook’s deputies each have annual target compensation of about $23 million, most of it in restricted stock.”

Steve Jobs’ “widow Laurene Powell Jobs, an entrepreneur and founder of Emerson Collective, is the sole Apple representative on the wealth ranking,” Metcalf and Melin report. “She’s worth $18 billion with two-thirds of her wealth in Walt Disney Co. and other holdings. She doesn’t work at Apple.”

“Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak held a 7.9 percent stake in 1980, which shrank over time as he sold options at low prices to mid-level employees and gifted shares to those he felt had been shortchanged. His current stake isn’t a matter of public record because only corporate insiders or shareholders with stakes exceeding 5 percent are required to report their interests. But Wozniak’s stake is thought to be in the millions rather than billions,” Metcalf and Melin report. “‘Ownership is not something I think about,’ Wozniak said in an email.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Translation: “We’re not wildly overpaid even though we can’t ship or update core products anywhere close to on time. Others are much more wildly overpaid elsewhere. Look over there! Nothing to see here, move along. Give it to Bloomberg, they’ll print it if they want our planned leaks to them to continue.”

Or perhaps we’re reading it all wrong. What’s your take on why this article exists?

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  1. I don’t understand all this management pay scheme, but I am aware that most corporate billionaires got that way with stock options and other stock incentives.

    Given that this is most potent early on, and Jobs was a well documented stock miser, could it be that Apple has been stock incentive stingy?

    1. You’re not going to get the Mac Mini you want. You’re going to get some expensive non-upgradeable Mac Mini Apple wants you to have. I’ll probably end up buying any Mac Mini that supports 4K at 60fps even if it isn’t upgradeable. Apple doesn’t care about what I want, so I’ve decided to put up with what Apple gives me.

  2. Surely part of the difference is that Apple is a much older company than something like Facebook. Steve Jobs was involved (pretty much) all the way through to the current tech boom and how wife now has $18b. Someone like Zuckerberg had a huge stake when the company went public recently and therefore has billions. Apple’s shares have been diluted amongst multiple parties over the years. Another difference is that Tim Cook for example didn’t form the company and is *just* an employee. Even when you compare Apple to say Microsoft they became massive at different points. Perhaps Apple execs get recompensed less, but there’s more to it.

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