Apple chief is best-paid US boss after $376m bonus

The huge bonus handed to Tim Cook when he took over at the helm of Apple not only made him the best-paid boss of a US public company last year, it meant he earned more than the nine next most generously remunerated chief executives combined.

Mr Cook was given $376.2m (£237m) in Apple shares last August as what the iPhone-maker called a "promotion and retention award".

A preliminary analysis of pay data from regulatory filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission reveals that the top 100 chief executives were paid $2.1bn in total last year, up 2 per cent on 2010. The average chief executive was paid $14.4m, more than 300 times the average American salary.

Mr Cook's total package of $378m – which included a salary of $900,000 – put him streets ahead of the next best-paid chief executive, Larry Ellison of the software giant Oracle, who made $77.6m. In third place was Ronald Johnson, the former boss of Apple's retail stores, who was hired to run JC Penney, the department store chain. Thanks to a large signing-on bonus, he was paid $53.3m last year.

The rest of the top 10 includes a preponderance of media sector bosses, including the head of Viacom, Philippe Dauman, who was paid $43.1m, Disney's Bob Iger on $31.4m, and Rupert Murdoch, who took home $29.4m.

The data was compiled by the research firm Equilar for The New York Times. Aaron Boyd, the director of research at Equilar, said Mr Cook's promotion bonus was unique. "The amount he got was historic to such a degree that it skews the numbers," he said.

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