According to the Wall Street Journal's annual survey of CEO pay in the US, Tim Cook of Apple was by far the most handsomely compensated chief executive last year. He took home $378 million in 2011, almost all of which came from a grant of one million shares awarded last August. Cook's base salary is $900,000, along with annual incentives to the same amount — almost insignificant next to his stock options, but a lot higher than the $1 that Steve Jobs famously drew.
Compensation tied to Apple's performance
There are a couple of catches, though. Apple considers the share package compensation for the next ten years, so we might not see Cook riding quite so high on the list next time around. The package also comes with a set of restrictions that limit Cook's ability to sell half of them for the next five years, and the other 50 percent until 2021. It's not surprising that the man heading one of the world's most valuable companies would be rewarded so highly, but it's worth noting that Cook's huge compensation will at least be somewhat tied to Apple's performance.
The top of the list is dominated by people in and around the technology industry. Number two on the list is Oracle's Larry Ellison, with $76 million in bonuses and stock options. Rounding off the top five are CBS CEO Les Moonves with $69.3 million, J.C. Penny chief executive Ron Johnson (formerly of Apple) at $53.6 million, and Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha taking home a package worth $46.6 million. Jha will also reportedly receive up to $61.2 million if, as rumored, he leaves Motorola less than two years after Google wraps up its acquisition of the company — expected to happen within the next two days.