Apple is Getting its CEO for a Bargain

Cook ranks as the 11th best-value CEO in the world, according to a top 100 list compiled by Bloomberg that assessed leaders’ pay-for-performance ratios at large listed companies. Cook’s base salary was about $2 million, with the rest of his compensation mostly made up of incentives.

Bloomberg, though, noted that Cook owns a stake in Apple worth around 10 times his base salary.

Cook would have been much higher up on the list if it weren’t for some CEOs pretty much doing the gig for free. Fossil Group’s Kosta Kartosis and Ubiquiti’s Robert Pera shared first place because they received zero compensation. Both men, though, own big chunks of company stock.

“Nominal salaries have the benefit of showing that executives care about investors because their financial fortunes are more aligned to the company’s share-price performance.

Larry Page, the CEO of Google-owner Alphabet, came in third with his $1 salary, which is the same amount Cook’s predecessor at Apple, Steve Jobs, was paid.

Nominal salaries have the benefit of showing that executives care about investors because their financial fortunes are more aligned to the company’s share-price performance.

Also edging out Cook was Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, who’s base salary, at $100,000, hasn’t changed for decades.

Buffett has often criticized the astronomically high salaries made by some superstar CEOs. Last year, he called on his successor not to let “ego nor avarice motivate him to reach for pay matching his most lavishly compensated peers, even if his achievements far exceed theirs.”

To be sure, Buffett also appears to be pragmatic when it comes to the supply and demand realities of the talent market: the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s energy unit was, last year, paid nearly $41 million, including incentives.

Bloomberg’s full list can be viewed here.

Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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