Apple is the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, but when it comes to CEO pay, Tim Cook is conspicuously absent on the latest list of top 200 paid CEOs in the US.

Based on a study ran by the New York Times, the average compensation among top executives in 2015 actually dropped 15% in 2015 down to a cool $19.3 million if you work at a company that brings in at least $1 billion in annual revenue. Cook has made much more than that in the past, but this year he didn’t even make cut.


The calculation is salary this year plus stock awards this year. But it’s stock awards in the year they are announced, not stock awards in the year they vest. Thus Cook’s $400 million in RSUs a couple of years back are not being counted. But the 5 year stock award to the Expedia chief this year is.

5 thoughts on “Sigh”

  1. How do professional writers about finance get something like this so wrong?

    Genuine question.

  2. No one thinks about it essentially. And I do mean no one (other than me perhaps). Because all the surveys of CEO pay make exactly, exactly the same mistake. There were two out last week, one for AP and one for the NYT. Both made the same mistake.

  3. Do they even take the hurdles into account or is it simply the gross number of shares? So if I were given 100 billion shares that vest if the share price hits $1bn a share would they look at me as the highest earning person ever or would they take into account the fact that it is unlikely that I would get anything?

  4. James,

    No, they don’t take the hurdles in to account. But this is the press. They don’t take anything in to account that doesn’t support their desired narrative. Usually including basic arithmetic.

    Tim, weren’t the AP and NYT surveys by the same survey company?

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