CEO pay debate heats up as Apple's Tim Cook takes home R7.3m a day | Fin24

CEO pay debate heats up as Apple's Tim Cook takes home R7.3m a day

Jun 30 2017 12:38
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – A report by Bloomberg has revealed that 25 of the leading S&P 500 chief executives took home about $1.65bn (R21.5bn) in 2016, with Apple CEO Tim Cook leading the pack with $145m (R1.9bn).

“Don’t be fooled by Tim Cook’s 2016 reported pay of $8.75m, which ranked the Apple chief executive officer in the bottom third of all CEOs in the S&P 500,” Bloomberg reported on Friday. “Cook actually took home $145m, almost all of it from awards granted back in 2011.”

“Cook’s 2016 take-home pay came primarily from the vesting of 1.26 million shares, valued at $136m, which were awarded after he became Apple’s CEO in 2011.”

These figures leave South Africa’s executive pay in the dust. A report by Deloitte this week revealed that South Africa’s JSE Top 100 execs took home on average R69 000 a day.

Using the same calculations, Bloomberg’s figures would mean that Cook effectively took home about R7.3m ($557 175) every day last year.

Further, the average executive listed by the Bloomberg report would have effectively taken home over R3.3m (over $253 000) every day in 2016.

Critics lambasted Shoprite after its former CEO Whitey Basson got R49.7m in basic pay and a special performance bonus of R50m in the financial year ending in June 2016.

Executive pay continues to attract intense media scrutiny both locally and abroad, with headlines on executive pay appearing on a frequent basis, Deloitte’s Leslie Yuill wrote in her South African report.

“Much of the focus this year has been on the growing inequality between those at the top of the organisation and the general workforce.

“The disparity in levels of top executive pay in relation to those of the lower paid workers is a societal concern worldwide,” Yuill said.

Bloomberg said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who reaped $106m (R1.4bn) in 2016, also crossed the $100m (R1.3bn) threshold for take-home pay, commonly referred to as realised pay.

Bloomberg explained that take-home pay is the sum of the values of stock vested and options exercised during the fiscal year, along with cash from salaries, bonuses and perks.

“CEOs don’t necessarily take ownership of those awards in the year they’re given,” it said. “A better measure of earnings is the value of options that the CEOs exercised and the shares that vested during the year. Those figures can vary significantly from companies’ original estimates as stock prices change.”

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