Apple CEO Tim Cook Left $1.5 Million In Salary On The Table For Missing Performance Goals

There are many companies that would not mind switching positions with Apple, but even so that does not give the Cupertino out fit license to go into cruise control. That is not what Apple CEO Tim Cook did, exactly, but after failing to meet certain performance targets last year, his earnings in 2016 came to $1.58 million less than in 2015, putting his salary closer in line with what he made in 2014 (but still half a million less).

Before anyone goes out and makes a GoFundMe page for Cook to pay his bills, rest easy, he still collected $8.7 million in 2016, which includes a base salary of $3 million, non-equity incentives of $5.37 million, and other compensation totaling $378,000. He will have no trouble keeping the lights on at this home but lest anyone is still concerned, he reached five years of CEO at Apple in 2016. That milestone unlocked close to $137 million in stock bonuses, bringing his total earnings to $145 million, the most he has ever collected in a single year at Apple.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Prior stock bonuses aside, his drop in income is notable because it reflects the challenges facing Apple. The company recently posted its first annual sales decline in 15 years following a quarter in which it reported its first-ever year-over-year drop in iPhone sales. Apple was even unable to capitalize on Samsung's disaster scenario with its failed Galaxy Note 7 device and that is concerning.

The problem for Apple is that it is so heavily invested and dependent upon iPhone sales. That benefited Apple for many years, and while it still does, Cook has to figure out a way to maintain interest in future iterations. Either that or he needs another golden goose, and it is not the Apple Watch no matter how much he wants to dispute market research firms such as IDC.

Apple iPhone 7

Consumers may be growing bored with the iPhone line, just as they did with Samsung's flagship Galaxy phones, prompting the South Korean electronics maker to redesign the handset with premium materials. Just as Samsung needed to shake things up after its Galaxy S5 failed to excite buyers, so too might Apple. It did that once already by offering different size iPhones, but with the iPhone 7, consumers seem to be feeling antsy once again.

It was recently reported that Apple told its suppliers to slash iPhone 7 production by 10 percent, and that was after it had already scaled things back by 20 percent. Unless the iPhone 7s brings something significant to the table, Apple could be looking at more quarters of less-than-expected sales. How to overcome that is big question, and it is one that Cook is responsible for answering.