Apple CEO Tim Cook Takes Big Pay Cut in 2012, Relatively Speaking, Though Stock Options Top $500M

The CEO of the most valuable company in the world is taking a big pay cut for 2012. We're of course talking about Tim Cook, the man who took the reins from Steve Jobs as the head honcho of Apple, but lest you worry yourself silly over his reduced compensation package, understand that a man can still feed his belly with $4.17 million.

That's the amount of his compensation package for 2012, which includes a base salary of $1.4 million (that's actually a 50 percent pay increase compared to 2011) and a non-equity bonus of $2.8 million, according to Reuters.

Even though his base salary is up 50 percent, Cook's annual cash compensation is "significantly below the median annual cash compensation level for CEOs at peer companies," Apple stated in a filing ahead of a shareholders meeting next February. In addition, Cook will not receive any stock awards for 2012.

Apple Store

To put all this in perspective, Cook's compensation package in 2010 was 14 times higher than it is now. Back then he was serving as Apple's Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Cook has done a mostly good job at the helm of Apple, overseeing the launch of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, along with a soaring stock price that topped $702 per share on September 19. He was the runner up to Time Magazine's Person of the Year. But there have also been some issues, such as complaints with the design of the iPhone 5, the Apple Maps flub, and a stock price that has fallen almost 27 percent since reaching its 52-week high.

Regardless, Cook is around for the long haul, which is what Jobs intended. Nearly all of Cook's $376 million stock bonus he received in 2011 was in awards that vest at two separate dates, one in 2016 and the other in 2021. The true value of his stock bonus is dependent on how well the company is doing in those years.