Tim Cook Beats Larry Ellison As The Valley's Highest-Paid Executive

Tim Cook Apple

Photo: Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Tim Cook’s staggering $378 million compensation for 2011 made Larry Ellison look like a relative pauper.The Oracle CEO earned $77.5 million in 2011, according to a new report on the highest paid Valley executives by the San Jose Mercury News.

But Cook, who became Apple’s CEO last year, can’t exactly cash in yet. Most of his pay, $376.2 million, was in a one-time grant of restricted stock units—RSUs—which only gradually convert into shares he owns and can sell over the course of 10 years. He was granted 1 million shares of Apple when he took the CEO role.  Those shares are worth almost $600 million now, the Merc notes.

So he had to get by on a 2011 salary of $900,000 and a bonus of $900,000—and the $11.1 million he made after taxes by selling 37,500 shares from a grant made two years ago. He got those as an incentive to stick around when Steve Jobs went on medical leave, reports Apple Insider.

Apparently that was enough, as Cook turned down an estimated $75 million in compensation in May. The Apple board decided to award employees holding RSUs “dividend equivalents,” on their shares, even though they technically didn’t own them yet. $75 million would have been Tim Cook’s payout.

Most of Ellison’s pay is in stock, too. $62.6 million. And of course, he’s not a pauper. Ellison’s net worth is about $36 billion, making him America’s third-richest person, so he probably doesn’t mind being No. 2 in the Valley for one year.

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