Tim Cook’s $99 million bonus for 2021 at risk over shareholder advisory group concern

By | February 16, 2022


The Institutional Shareholder Services is recommending that Apple investors vote against CEO Tim Cook’s $99 million pay package, according to a report by the Financial Times.

A year after Tim Cook celebrates a decade as Apple CEO, a top shareholder advisory group is once again telling its clients that it doesn’t think Apple should pay that much money to Cook.

Institutional Shareholder Services told its clients on Wednesday in a letter seen by the Financial Times that there “is a significant concern” with the stock award Cook received last year, which was the Apple chief’s first since 2011. ISS last recommended against Apple’s pay in 2015. 

Last month, Apple published its annual proxy statement while announcing the annual meeting of shareholders for March. With that, we were able to discover that the company’s CEO Tim Cook had a $98,734,395 total compensation regarding salary, stock awards, non-equity incentive plan compensation, and all other compensation in 2021.

Financial Times explained why ISS has a negative recommendation, although it’s unlikely to affect Cook’s payment:

Shareholder votes on Apple’s executive packages are advisory only and do not require its board to take action in response. Some 95 per cent of votes cast last year went in Apple’s favour. But a significant protest this year could sway Apple’s board, nine years after the previous meaningful backlash over Cook’s pay. 

ISS’s negative recommendation for Apple comes after a record number of S&P 500 companies last year failed to garner 50 per cent support for a pay vote at annual meetings.

Although Apple did not respond to FT’s story, the company addressed a statement last month regarding Tim Cook’s compensation in 2021:

In 2021 we marked the 10th anniversary of Tim Cook’s leadership as CEO. It’s been a remarkable decade for Apple and in 2021 Mr. Cook was granted an equity award for the first time since he was promoted to CEO in August 2011. The structure of this award is better aligned with the performance-based and time-based RSUs awarded to our other named executive officers, while the amount recognizes his exceptional leadership and is commensurate with the size, performance, and profitability Apple has achieved during his tenure.

On March 4, we’ll learn more whether Apple CEO will earn his $99 million bonus or not.

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