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Apple’s Tim Cook gets $376 million stock award

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In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple disclosed that it has awarded new CEO Tim Cook an award of restricted stock units (RSUs) valued at some $376 million, designed to serve as a “promotion and retention award.” Under the deal, Cook would receive one million RSUs: half the stock options would vest on the fifth anniversary of Cook’s assumption of the CEO role; the other half would vest on the ten-year anniversary, conditional on Cook remaining with the company.

The $376 million value on Cook’s stock grant is a bit of a red herring: although that’s the nominative value of the stock options at the time they were granted, the Apple explicitly expects the value of the stock options to increase over time, and thus serve as an incentive for Cook to stay with the company—if he leaves, he leaves at least a portion of the stock options behind too. Of course, if Apple’s market performance suffers, the options could be worth less than their current declared value.

“In light of Mr. Cook’s experience with the Company, including his leadership during Mr. Jobs’s prior leaves of absence, the Board views his retention as CEO as critical to the Company’s success and smooth leadership transition,” Apple wrote in its filing. “The RSU award is intended as a long-term retention incentive for Mr. Cook, and, accordingly, should be viewed as compensation over the 10-year vesting period and not solely as compensation for 2011.”

Cook’s 2011 compensation with Apple also included a $900,017 base salary, a $900,000 cash bonus, and some $16,520 in perks and other compensation. That’s actually down quite a lot from Cook’s 2010 compensation from Apple, while included an $800,000 salary, nearly $6 million in cash bonuses, almost $60,000 in perks and other compensation…and over $52 million in stock awards.

Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died in October, received a salary of $1, and had consistently declined any new stock options or compensation awards.

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