Apple is world’s biggest tech giant, but Tim Cook is far from best-paid CEO

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Tim Cook
"I ranked where on the list?"
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook is one of the highest-profile CEOs in the world, currently in his tenth year running what’s currently the most valuable public company in the United States. But Cook is far from the biggest earner when it comes to executive compensation.

According to a ranking by the Wall Street Journal, Cook ranked 171st among S&P 500 CEOs in 2020s, taking into account both pay and compensation packages. While Cook’s take-home was a more-than-adequate $14,769,259 for the year, that’s still considerably under the $211 million raked in by Chad Richison of Paycom, the no. 1 entry on the list.

No-one is going to shed too many tears for Tim Cook pulling in $14.7 million, but it’s actually quite a bit under Apple’s one year return to shareholders. In 2020, Apple stock increased by an impressive 109%. However, Cook’s own compensation only increased by 28%.

Overall, though, 2020 was a great for Apple’s boss. It was the year in which Cook finally joined the billionaire club — approximately a decade after stepping up to lead a company that has only gone from strength to strength.

Tim Cook plans to give his fortune away

Cook has long talked about his plans to give his entire fortune to charity. In 2015, he told Fortune magazine about his intention to do this, and noted that he’d already started quietly donating shares. He has also talked about first paying for his nephew’s college tuition fees.

As with all big CEOs, Cook is paid a salary for running Apple, and then receives more money in the form of stock options and target-driven bonuses. Unlike a lot of his contemporaries (whether Jeff Bezos at Amazon, Elon Musk at Tesla, or Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook), Cook isn’t a founder — or co-founder — of his company. His lack of ownership stake therefore reduces quite how crazily large his net worth is. Not that’s it’s any amount worth complaining about, though.

Source: Wall Street Journal