Feb 18, 2022 - Economy

The fight over Apple CEO Tim Cook's $99M pay package

Equity performance since Tim Cook became CEO of Apple. Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Equity performance since Tim Cook became CEO of Apple. Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

How much is too much when it comes to CEO compensation?

Driving the news: Apple wants to award CEO Tim Cook a $99 million pay package — but shareholder advisory firm ISS this week recommended a "no" vote.

State of play: ISS says the package is too much — triple the peer median pay — and that it does little to help with retention as much of it is stock that'll be earned in retirement no matter what. Another advisory firm, Glass Lewis, approved the comp package.

  • Reality check: Shareholders will likely ignore the recommendation, Daniel Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, tells Axios.

The big picture: Shareholders need Cook, says Ives. The last thing they want is to make him unhappy.

  • Without him, Apple’s share price would sink. “Cook’s worth $500-600 million in stock,” he says, pointing to the company’s meteoric share price.

"Compare what Cook’s done to the disaster of Zuckerberg and to other CEOs of similar stature," Ives added, referencing Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, whose shares recently plummeted. "The success of Apple is unparalleled."

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