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Apple rewards CEO Tim Cook with US$58 million for bang-up job on Wall Street

Gregg Keizer | Aug. 31, 2015
Cook gets full allocation of vested shares after Apple places in 90th percentile of S&P 500's 'total shareholder return'

apple ceo time cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he arrives on stage to deliver his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, United States June 8, 2015. Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith via Computerworld.

Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this week was awarded 560,000 shares, worth approximately $57.7 million, receiving the full amount of a grant due him because of Apple's performance on Wall Street over the last two years.

As it did in 2014, Apple withheld just over half of the total shares -- 290,836, worth about $30 million on Monday -- for tax purposes.

The half-million shares were this year's allotment under a revised schedule designed at Cook's request in 2013. Then, Apple's board modified the executive's vesting plan, which had set two large stock handouts for a massive 1 million-share grant -- after last year's stock split, equal to 7 million -- when Cook assumed the lead role at the Cupertino, Calif. company just weeks before co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

Under the revised plan, Cook's shares were to vest in equal amounts -- 560,000 shares after the 7-to-1 split -- over multiple years, and the number was to be partly tied to the company's performance. Cook could potentially lose rights to half of those shares.

The criteria Apple set was "total shareholder return" (TSR), a metric that combined share price appreciation and dividends. If, in any two-year stretch, Apple was within the top third of the S&P 500 in TSR, Cook was to receive all 560,000 RSUs (restricted stock units) slated to vest that year. However, if Apple's TSR was in the middle or bottom third, he was to receive only three-fourths (420,000 shares) or one-half (280,000 shares), respectively, of the allocation.

For the span Aug. 25, 2013, to Aug. 24, 2015, Apple's TSR was 46%, easily in the top third, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Cook therefore was given control of the entire 560,000-share award.

"Apple's TSR for the two-year period was 76.76%, which ranked 46th of the 458 companies that were included in the S&P 500 for the entire period and placed Apple in the 90th percentile," Apple said.

Cook still has 4.76 million RSUs coming to him, with a pair of 700,000-share awards due in August 2016 and August 2021, assuming he is still with the company then. The remaining balance of 3,360,000 will vest in six equal annual installments starting in 2016 and ending in 2021.

The Apple CEO currently owns almost 1.2 million shares, worth approximately $132.1 million at Thursday's closing price.

Also this month, another prominent CEO -- Microsoft's Satya Nadella -- was slated to vest a large number of shares from prior awards. According to a Microsoft proxy statement from February, Nadella was to vest nearly 266,000 shares in August, a total worth approximately $11.7 million at Thursdays closing bell price.


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