A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says that Cook brought home $8.7 million in 2016. But that wasn't even the half of it, not by a long shot. According to Bloomberg, Cook actually made close to $145 million, "almost all of it from awards granted back in 2011."
In a 2012 SEC filing, it states that the board of directors granted Cook, who succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs at the helm of the tech giant in 2011, one million restricted stock units (RSUs) as a "promotion and retention award," worth more than $376 million. (The award was modified in 2013 to include performance targets.)
At the time Cook became CEO, Andrea Jung, 58, CEO of nonprofit microfinance organization Grameen America, was chair of the compensation committee, according to BoardEx. Al Gore, 69, former vice president of the United States and prominent climate activist, and Millard Drexler, 72, former CEO of the J. Crew Group, were also members of the committee. (Drexler stepped down as chief of J. Crew in June 2017).
Currently, Jung and Gore remain on the compensation committee but Disney
CEO Robert Iger replaced Drexler in 2015, according to BoardEx.
Even though Apple stock has soared nearly 200% since Cook became CEO a shareholder, Jing Zhao, challenged the pay practices at Apple at this year's annual meeting. Zhao proposed that the company "engage multiple outside independent experts or resources from the general public to reform its executive compensation principles and practices." The measure was soundly defeated by a vote of 3,018,354,923 against and 67,856,548 for the proposal.
Still, for the Say-on-Pay proposal, which gives shareholders the opportunity to cast an advisory vote to approve compensation, a majority of shareholders supported conducting advisory votes on executive compensation every one year.
Interestingly, influential proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. LLC was against the shareholder proposal, arguing that the terms of the proposal are unclear and did not elaborate on what elements of the executive compensation warrant reform.
"We believe that because shareholders are afforded opportunities to vote on the company's compensation and election of directors (including members of the compensation committee) adoption of this proposal is not warranted," Glass Lewis wrote in a February note.
This is part of a series of stories that comprise TheStreet's Blue Chip Studio, which will illuminate issues related to corporate board performance, activism, dealmakers and personalities revealed by analysis of data generated by BoardEx, a business unit of TheStreet.