Elon Musk’s pay package has so far yielded him about $33 billion of paper gains and made him the highest-paid U.S. executive for three consecutive years, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index. On Bloomberg’s list of Highest Paid CEOs and Executives in 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook ranks 8th, with compensation of $265,043,550 in 2020.
Behind [Musk] is a string of other mostly male, mostly white corporate leaders with awards projected to pay out nine or 10 figures. Only five of the country’s 100 top-paid executives last year were women.
On paper, Musk’s grant struck some as ludicrous both in size and ambition. Could a board really defend paying just one employee tens of billions of dollars, even if the company’s market value rose by more than tenfold? Most investors thought so. More than two-thirds of them backed the pay package in a non-binding referendum. If it works, some of them reasoned, we’ll reap huge returns. What does it matter, then, if Musk gets his billions?
Corporate chiefs around the country eyed the alluring proposition. What’s a run-of-the-mill $20 million annual package compared to a shot at a payout in the hundreds of millions—or even a billion or two?
One consultant who’s worked with boards at some of the country’s biggest companies, and asked to remain anonymous to discuss confidential deliberations, described how some executives and directors distilled the investor referendum at Tesla: “The takeaway from Musk’s package was that if performance requirements are high enough, it doesn’t matter how much we pay.”
Rank-and-file workers are hardly ever part of that equation. The median ratio between the pay for S&P 500 CEOs and their typical employees rose to 182 in 2020, up for the third year in a row, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Some firms logged ratios in the thousands.
MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook’s compensation of $265,043,550 in 2020, a leap year with 366 days, was:
• $66.260 million per quarter
• $22.086 million per month
• $724,162.70 per day (every day of the year)
• $30,173.44 per hour (every hour of each 24-hour day)
• $502.89 per minute (every minute of each day)
• $8.38 per second (every second of each day)