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A pay cut for Tim Cook? Not really

business Updated: Dec 28, 2012 22:00 IST

This year, Apple became the most highly valued public company in history and generated $156.5 billion in revenue - nearly 50% more than it did in 2011. So how much did Timothy D Cook, the company's chief executive, take home?

A relatively modest $4.2 million in pay, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The filing said Cook had been paid a salary of $1.36 million and received a cash bonus of $2.8 million.

That may seem to be a steep decline from the $378 million package that he was awarded in 2011 - one of the largest on record - bolstered by a stock package worth $376.2 million then.

But the stock will vest over a 10-year period. Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research, said the move was in line with Apple's overall strategy, from its product development plans to its long-term goals for the executive at the helm. "If you want to create success for the company, you put a big carrot on the horizon, about 10 years out, and go from there," he said.

For a period of time, even Apple founder Steve Jobs was paid salary of just one dollar a year. Moreover, Cook's pay has gone up from $900,000 to $1.36 million, Gillett pointed out.

"If you were handing out gigantic nine-figure stock deals every year, it would send the wrong message to customers and shareholders," he said.