Apple CEO Tim Cook’s total compensation dropped to $125 million for 2019

Apple CEO Tim Cook received $3 million in salary in 2019, the same as in 2018, and a $7.67 million bonus, which was down from $12 million year over year.

Kif Leswing for CNBC:

Apple CEO Tim Cook
All the way to the bank
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s total pay decreased last year as the company failed to exceed its financial targets by as much as it did in 2018. But he still pulled in over $125 million in total compensation. According to an SEC filing on Friday, Cook received $3 million in salary for 2019, the same as a year earlier, while his bonus decreased to $7.67 million from $12 million.

The majority of Cook’s pay came from the vesting of $113.5 million worth of Apple shares. All in, Cook’s salary, bonus and vesting compensation for the year declined by 8% from $136 million in 2018. Since 2011, the year Cook became CEO, his compensation has totaled $963.5 million, according to Equilar.

Cook also received over $800,000 in other compensation, including a $16,800 contribution to his 401(k) plan and security expenses of $457,082. Apple’s board of directors also requires Cook to fly private, which cost the company $315,311 in 2019.

Apple’s median employee made $57,596, up from $55,426 a year earlier. Not including his 2011 stock grant, which accounts for the majority of Cook’s pay, the CEO’s compensation of $11.6 million last year was 201 times the amount earned by the median Apple employee.

MacDailyNews Take: First of all, the vast majority of Apple employees are retail store staff, hence the low median figure. It would make more sense and be more intellectually honest to compare Cook’s salary with the median earned by non-retail employees. In that case Cook is not making 201 times the median. And, secondly, Cook, if he hasn’t already, is about to join the billionaires’ club! (We bet he’s there already.)

37 Comments

  1. CEO who has not created anything, hand picked by the company founder, now politically plodding along on iPhone profits while the pipeline by all appearances ran dry.

    HomePod, Apple+, Apple Music all late to the party me-too products not exactly ready for prime time killer products and the wireless charger vapor.

    Cook is a very good person. That said, his twofold legacy will be paid too much as a caretaker CEO for delivering too little. The other is discontinued popular and functional hardware, software, services, downgraded Apple store experience, too many years of MacPro ignorance, thinness obsession losing many valuable connection ports in all products while raising prices and sure I missed some — is simply SAD in the pursuit of profits.

    Switching gears: MDN has an excellent point regarding most employees work at Apple stores. Removing them from the equation will certainly change the numbers for a more accurate picture.

    Bottom line: Same old, same old corporate story, underling employees that do most of the work are paid tens or hundreds of times LESS than the fat-cat CEO…

    1. Hey, GeoB, you forgot the /s tag, but your parody of all the critics of the world’s most successful (as measured by objective numbers like revenue, profits, and stock price) CEO is perfect otherwise.

      1. TxUser, I don’t care how well the company is doing (and on a purely financial basis Apple is doing better than it ever has — except for the debt they’ve taken on to please the Wall Street nuts); no one, even if they dedicate 100% of their thoughts and efforts for 16 hours each and every day, is worth more than $21,000 per hour. Apple has direct employees that don’t make that much in a year. “dd’s” comments below make that even more striking if you take a more reasonable upper limit of 4,000 hours a year.

        People screamed years ago when the Apple board lavished huge awards to Steve Jobs. At least under Jobs’ direct (sometimes harsh) leadership Apple came back from the brink of bankruptcy and transformed into one of the leading tech power houses. The same cannot be said for Tim Cook. Cook took a company with multiple great products lines and set the company up to be a financial powerhouse. Cook should have been a banker.

      2. Hey, USELESS, everything I posted is accurate and you know it. Because you are a regular blind staunch supporter of Cook around here you will never admit it. Could not care less. Yes, agreed, Cook is a “perfect” CEO riding first class on Steve’s iPhone gravy train… 🤣

      3. Even a socialist like Elizabeth Warren understands how free markets work; she just prefers her more tightly-regulated alternative. I am not sure that some of you realize that you are supporting socialism by opposing free market capitalism.

        In a capitalist economy, prices are not determined by faceless bureaucrats in a distant capital (or even by a man with a face living in a big White House). They are determined by what a seller is willing to accept and what a buyer is willing to pay. We call this the law of supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, prices go down. When demand exceeds supply, they go up. If “mansplaining” offends you, sorry, but this really is pretty basic.

        At least in theory, all prices float to the level that would be agreed by a willing seller and a willing buyer. That is true not only for nuts, bolts, iPhones, and APPL shares, but also for labor and services. All other things being equal, a burger flipper at Whataburger is paid the lowest wage that he is willing to accept and the highest wage the company is willing to pay. Exactly the same thing happens when Tim Cook negotiates his contract: he will only accept a salary that is the highest that he believes Apple will pay; they will only offer a salary that is the lowest that they think he will accept. Free market = Individual freedom = No socialism.

        In practice, of course, labor markets are not completely free. Workers on the one side and employers on the other often band together (whether legally or illegally) and insist on collective bargaining that results in different wage levels than if individual workers were bargaining in private with individual employers. Trying to avoid those effects is why most tech companies insist that employees keep their salaries secret, so as to avoid the lower paid employees from pointing out inequities. There are laws requiring the disclosure of executive compensation, or we would have no idea what Tim Cook makes and Apple would not have to compete with the pay packages offered by comparable companies.

        There are also government regulations, the sort of thing that some might call socialism: employers cannot pay less than a minimum wage, must pay overtime to hourly workers, and so forth. While there are legal minimums, there are no maximums currently in effect in the United States, although they are under discussion here and elsewhere. Executive compensation is thus determined by the market, Tim Cook is not overpaid, because he is paid what the market for his services determined. If that happens to be 1000 times the salary for a guy who sweeps floors, that is just the natural consequence of a free market. The sweeper is not underpaid (in capitalist theory) because he is getting every cent the market will bear.

        I find it hilarious that we have people who regularly appear on here making rude remarks about Libtards and Socialists who are appearing in this thread to reject the application of conservative free-market economics when it comes to Tim Cook. They apparently want Big Brother to step in and pass a law to keep Apple from paying its CEO what they think his services are worth. The Government knows Apple’s business better than the company does. Yeah, and the check’s in the mail.

        Some of you obviously don’t think Cook is worth that much. In a free market, that means that he will not be working for you because you will not pay him what he thinks he is worth. Apple will, so he is working for them instead and will continue doing so. I think they may be better placed to know what they need in a CEO than you are. If you prefer socialism to free markets, you might want to see how a government-controlled economy is working out for the Soviet Union and East Germany. Oh, they both went out of business?

        1. Although sound the length of this article-length comment is excessive and more appropriate for a personal blog. People might be more receptive to your point if you could make it in less than 7(!) paragraphs Tx.

          1. I agree! Unfortunately, the same people who don’t understand free markets invariably respond to short answers with a demand that I state my data and reasoning, not just my conclusions. Damned if you do…

            1. “I agree! Unfortunately, the same people who don’t understand free markets invariably respond to short answers with a demand that I state my data and reasoning,”

              NO, you don’t agree and your posts define you. Spare us the 🐂💩

              You responded to my post regarding Cook performance and went off the deflective deep end!

              @Nick was courageous and rightly so calling you out.

              Get a grip…

            2. It wasn’t deflection. You claimed that Tim Cook was overpaid and I explained why I think you are wrong. He isn’t perfect—I agree with many of your criticisms—but his salary isn’t set by you or me, but by Apple’s board in free-market negotiations.

        2. Why am I so doubtful whenever you are out of sight…

          WooHoo…

          Deflection… torments my heart
          Deflection… keeps us apart
          Deflection… why torture me

          User play on lyrics from “Suspicion” by the King, Elvis

          Trademark tedious word salad deflection. I stopped reading after the first paragraph. I don’t do well with a self described conservative Republican misrepresenting and defending socialist Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

          I can only guess your three year mourning after the historic heartbreaking Hillary loss, Liz is your 2020 pick for president, good luck.

          Imagine all the glamorous Hollywood parties and gushing wall to wall media adoration plastering her picture on every newspaper and magazine cover celebrating the first female president.

          Back to reality. One day look forward to the first female president. By all indications present day, not this year.

          Bottom line: We all know by now RINO USER, your only authentic claim to being a Republican is a check box on the local county registration form. Please spare us the dishonesty and as long as you continue, I will continue to call you on it.

          Happy New Year!…

          1. Learn to read. I did not say that I agreed with Senator Warren. I said that YOU did. You both think that executive compensation should not be set by the free market but limited by the government. She understands that your shared position is inconsistent with pure capitalism. You clearly don’t.

  2. let’s pretend Timmy works 4000 hours per year (he does not). this would mean Timmy’s reduced salary shovels $31,250 at him PER HOUR, not including the executive perks bonuses and so on.

    no human earns that much money. fat cats just take it because that’s how they set up the pyramid schemes.

    and this guy cannot even deliver a consistent fully updated family of products. NOT ONE complete lineup of current-tech products since Timmy arrived. iPhone SE anyone? Affordable Mac tower?

    the Apple board should redirect another $100 million to new product development. Apple is led by self serving demigod wannabes, just like every other large corporation.

    1. CEO-ships are kind of like presidencies…you credit the good/bad that occurs under their tenures.
      One may see Cook as not “worth” his salary, but if the balance sheet of the corp and the shareholder’s gains are used as a measure, he’s had some innings with errors, but overall, he’s been hitting homers all along the way. Steve may have teed up the ball, but Cook is doing what’s expected of a good hitter.

      I, for one miss the story of excitement, suspense, and the drama woven by Steve…but that’s not a salary matter.

  3. I hate Apple. I hate Tim Cook. Whine, whine, whine, whine. What’s that you say? Why don’t I just go and buy Winblows and Androcrap products? Because Apple’s products are so much better. But, anyway, whine, whine whine. Bitch, bitch, bitch.

      1. Well that’s the last time I’ll ever Ask Jeeve anything… he’s got a cork Stobbed up his brain hole to stop any smidgeon of intelligence creeping in.

  4. Cook’s tactful diplomacy with both President Trump and China alone justifies his salary, he saved Apple billions of dollars. Given the lunacy and ineptitude of most Silicon Valley executives, I don’t see anyone else who could have navigated these stormy seas, and I doubt Steve Jobs himself could have done any better. The notion that Cook is just coasting on a decade-old pipeline of products is as dumb as it gets.

  5. None of you individually are even remotely qualified to determine what Tim Cook is worth. The market collectively is. The only input you have, thank goodness, is whether you buy  products, whine like babies who can’t get their way, or promote him with all your fervor.

    How much should Michael Jordan be able to earn? He is/was, backed up by facts, worth a very little bit, but by each of millions of people. The fans and haters prove it by buying tickets to his games, buying products he endorses, etc.

    How much should Brad Pitt make? How about Taylor Swift? Do we peons, with no such talent or inclination to buy their stuff really think it is appropriate that we should decide who much they should make? They might not be worth it to you, but just don’t buy the effort of their labors.

    How dare you arrogant morons, who think you or the government should decide such things. It is the height of arrogance. And it is the ultimate expression of socialism.

    1. Wait, if I/we don’t have a remote qualification to determine Cook’s value, how do you then make your absolute determination? I guess you’re not like readers here, but you just happen to be visiting this lowly place full of morons?

      You are opining of the same matter without the impunity you remove from “us?” Ahh, it is the “market.” Am I/we not the market, oh wise one? Is the market one voice? I think not and the voices here attest.

      I believe in the market.

      1. “Wait, if I/we don’t have a remote qualification to determine Cook’s value, how do you then make your absolute determination? I guess you’re not like readers here, but you just happen to be visiting this lowly place full of morons?”

        My point is that no one person, including me should determine what an individual on any level ‘should’ earn. I did not call ALL the readers of this post ‘morons’. You didn’t to refer the rest of my sentence, i.e., “who think you or the government should decide such things”. I was/am also referring to comments about his hourly salary, as if the number of hours is remotely related to his, or anyone else’s, value.

        “You are opining of the same matter without the impunity you remove from “us?” Ahh, it is the “market.” Am I/we not the market, oh wise one? Is the market one voice? I think not and the voices here attest.”

        No, you are not the market. You are a very, very tiny part of the labor market. in fact, you are making my point, specifically that no one individual or group, other than the market, should decide what a person should earn.

        “I believe in the market.”

        Me too!

  6. The good old boys club is alive and well. CEO pay has nothing to do with market economics. It is economic feudalism, pure and simple. And though corporate earnings growth on average continue to be as low as they have been for the last decade, Wall Street games and stock buybacks have fooled investors into believing that CEOs are brilliant. Brilliant at what? Playing hide and seek with international shell companies to hide corporate incomes? Thanks Timmy.

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/ceos-of-sp-500-companies-earn-more-in-two-days-than-the-average-worker-will-for-the-whole-year-2020-01-06

    “CEOs of S&P 500 companies took home an average of $14.5 million [per year]. That translates as $278,846 per week, or $55,769 per working day.”

    “As for the typical employee, the median weekly earnings of the nation’s 118.4 million workers in the third quarter of 2019 was $919, according to the Department of Labor — translating to annual pay of $47,788.”

    This is obscene. No one human can possibly add more ~400 times more value than another human. Think about this. If a decade ago the board had cut Cook’s base salary in half, then a team of at least 100 engineers could have been annually churning out updated Mac models and Apple would actually have more than ~8% market share in the personal computer industry. They could have afforded proper durability testing of keyboards and they could have tested the waters with an affordable Mac tower computer to see how just how many million prosumers, photographers, and so forth have been abandoned by Apple. And poor Timmy would have to make due with personal budget of only tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income per day. Woe is me!

    But no, instead all the money that could have kept Apple relevant in computing goes to Timmy. An executive who spends more time on personal junkets than coordinating a cohesive company strategy. Apple is no longer focused on empowering users to create great new things. Apple is now a luxury fashion lifestyle brand, shipping white plastic Chinese made disposables to entitled rich brats the world over. Yay. Throw more investor money at Timmy, as if he’s accomplished something that an untrained chimpanzee couldn’t. So sad that Apple is more interested in chasing Spotify and Netflix than building great computers that EVERYONE can afford. Wasn’t that one of the founding missions of the company?

    Those who continue to support crony capitalism without restraints (including yes regulation and international cooperation on labor rights, freedom of worker migration, etc) cannot morally defend their obscene greed.

    1. “This is obscene. No one human can possibly add more ~400 times more value than another human.”

      There are countless individuals who have added far more than 400 times more value than the average human. Some times they were compensated that much or more. Other times, not.

      Your hatred of the direction Cook has taken  is understandable, given the direction you wanted  to take. It is unreasonable to make a statement about how a chimpanzee could have done it. You probably have no idea what it would take to run a trillion dollar company, and I suspect, you couldn’t do it as well as he has. So, you should hope that your statement is incorrect. You are just expressing class envy. Do you think the burger flipper should make as much as you? If so, how would you decide how much that should be? If not, should you make less, or should he make more?

      1. You ask inappropriate questions. Many, if not most, of the problems in human society boil down to the simple fact that the powerful and rich hoard their wealth to the extent that the lower MAJORITY of the planet, well over 50% of the world’s population, knows daily hardship that could be avoided if only their work was rewarded with a decent wage.

        Nobody has ever proposed than an entry level worker should be compensated identically to the experienced professional late in his career. However, the excuses of why a caretaker CEO like Cook should earn more compensation in one minute than a billion people on the plant earn in a day is morally indefensible.

        That’s not class hatred, that’s basic logic. And yes, I do believe that hiring 100 Mac engineers or 1000 new retail employees would have earned Apple more return on investment than Timmy has accomplished with his unearned millions in compensation. What would lead you to believe otherwise? Why precisely would an investor believe that only compensation for Timmy can lead to increased return on investment? Did Ahrendts’ $75 million signing bonus pay off for Apple? Do explain please why that’s wise use of company funds.

        1. You may think that they are the wrong questions, but they are questions that must be answered to make any changes that you, personally, desire. It is easy to moralize that it is unfair, but what would you do to change things? Do you have any suggestions to solve the problem, or are you just complaining that the world is unfair?

          Your comment comparing what Cook makes to the rest of the world is still not getting to the core of the issue. Most of the billion people who live in poverty, are trapped in non-democratic government rule. So, while it is true that much of the world lives in poverty, then you should take personal action with your own resources to change something. The fact is that you probably make more in one hour that a billion people in the world make in a day. Is it morally indefensible for you to earn that much? where do you draw the line? Generalizations of the state of the world does not solve, but only conflates issues.

          As I stated in an earlier post, most people who make millions of dollars, do so by being worth a tiny bit, but to millions or billions of people.  earned $52.316B in fiscal 2019. Tim Cook was paid $125M or less than ¼ of a penny per dollar of profit. Stated another way, he was paid less than 1/10,000th of a penny per dollar of ’s 1.3T value.

          We will never know as to whether you are right about your hiring scheme. My bet is on Cook, rather than you. As to Ahrendts, I agree, but you fail to acknowledge the vast Cook decisions that have taken  to the 2nd largest and best run company in the world.

  7. Apple has never really been in the business to make computers that EVERYONE can afford. In fact, computers aren’t necessarily an item that everyone can afford. Add homes & cars to the list.

    I can understand the astonishment–the pay level(s) are inexplicable, but what’s a proposal that’s not totalitarian?

    Elitism-ism–yes. Feudalism…no–not unless they’re given control over our lives and there we have choice

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