Under Tim Cook, Apple’s valuation has risen by more than $2.2 trillion.
Musk took home a remarkable $23.5 billion last year although much of that came from the exercise of some Tesla stock options. Behind Musk as the second highest-paid executive in the Fortune 500 last year was Tim Cook. Much of the $770.5 million that Cook added to his vault came from cashing in some of a 10-year grant of Apple shares worth a total of $1.7 billion.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, took in $770.5 million last year between pay and stock grants
Fortune notes that Apple’s market value has risen by $2.2 trillion since Cook replaced Steve Jobs following the latter’s death in October 2011 from pancreatic cancer. The magazine mentioned this as a way to validate Cook’s huge pay. The thinking is that if Cook made $2.2 trillion for Apple stockholders, isn’t he entitled to a huge paycheck for himself?
The median paycheck for 280 Fortune 500 CEOs rose 30% in 2021
Next on the list is Reed Hastings, the CEO of video streaming service Netflix. Hastings took in $453.5 million last year according to Fortune. However, a Netflix spokesman would only admit to the total amount of pay listed on the company’s proxy statement filed with the government which included, “$650,000 in cash and $39.7 million in stock options.” That is still a load of money but nowhere near $453.5 million.
Skipping some of the names on the list, the seventh most highly paid CEO among the top companies in the Fortune 500 is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. For the sixth consecutive year, Nadella was voted the “most underrated” CEO although it is hard to make the case that someone is underrated when he is getting paid $309.4 million in one year.
The median total compensation for the 280 Fortune 500 CEOs that Fortune analyzed was $15.9 million last year, up 30% on an annual basis. Running a tech company is hard work indeed, but those who are running the top tech firms are being well compensated for the hours and sweat that they put into the job.