The man who took over from Steve Jobs at the helm of Apple has been promised a $376m (£243m) pay bonanza, in an attempt to tie him to the company for the next decade.
Tim Cook, who was deputy and heir apparent to the late Mr Jobs before being promoted to chief executive in October, could wind up being the most generously compensated chief executive in the world this year – because his fellow directors believe the company would be destabilised if he were to leave.
The huge pay package stands in stark contrast to Mr Jobs' own remuneration. The Apple founder worked for only $1 a year. Unlike Mr Jobs, who owned a $2bn slice of the company's shares, Mr Cook is yet to build up a substantial stake in Apple. He will be handed half a million shares if he stays for five years, and another half a million if he stays five more. "The award is intended as a long-term retention incentive for Mr Cook," the company said in a letter aimed at damping any shareholder angerl. "It should be viewed as compensation over the 10-year vesting period and not solely as compensation for 2011."
So far, the maker of the iPhone and iPad has weathered the transition from the Jobs era smoothly. Mr Jobs passed away on 5 October, but Mr Cook had taken over day-to-day running of the company at the start of last year – the third time he had deputised for Mr Jobs during his long battle with pancreatic cancer. The size of his payout was a "subjective" reward for that stand-in job as well, the Apple board said.
Mr Cook, the Alabama-born son of a shipyard worker, has a different style to his predecessor. Whereas Mr Jobs was prone to explosive, four-letter outbursts, Mr Cook is calm but firm. And while Mr Cook was named by Out magazine at the top of its list of most powerful gay people, he has not cultivated the cult of personality that Mr Jobs commanded at Apple.