Apple CEO Tim Cook took home $770.5 million last year; one Fortune 500 CEO has banked more

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Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler made $36 million in basketball in 2021 and that certainly sounds like a lot of money to be paid in one year. But Apple CEO Tim Cook banked more than 20 times as much as Butler last year. You’d think Cook’s $770.5 million in deposits would make him the highest paid CEO of the executives who run Fortune 500 companies, but you’d be wrong.
We should point out that most CEO pay is based on a combination of annual salary and benefits such as stock options and stock grants. For example according to FortuneElon Musk is the highest paid executive among those who run Fortune 500 companies. Musk, the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $218.1 billion, is the CEO of both car company Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, and in 2021 he cashed in on a Tesla stock options grant he was given in 2018.

Under Tim Cook, Apple’s valuation has risen more than $2.2 trillion.

Musk took home a remarkable $23.5 billion last year, although much of it came from exercising some Tesla stock options. Behind Musk as the second highest paid executive in the Fortune 500 last year was Tim Cook. Much of the $770.5 million Cook added to his vault came from cashing in on part of a 10-year grant of Apple stock totaling $1.7 billion.

Fortune notes that Apple’s market value has risen by $2.2 trillion since Cook replaced Steve Jobs after his death in October 2011 from pancreatic cancer. The magazine called this a way to validate Cook’s huge paycheck. The thinking is that if Cook made $2.2 trillion for Apple shareholders, isn’t he entitled to a huge salary for himself?

In third place, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang made “just” $561 million in 2021. The company is considered a global leader in AI software and hardware. A company spokesperson said Huang realized “about $507 million from expiring options granted in 2011 and 2012, which represents the roughly 60x increase in the company’s stock price over the course of the year.” [past] decade.”

Median Salary for 280 Fortune 500 CEOs Increased 30% in 2021

Next on the list is Reed Hastings, the CEO of video streaming service Netflix. Hastings raised $453.5 million last year, according to Fortune. However, a Netflix spokesperson would only admit the total amount stated on the company’s power of attorney statement filed with the government, which includes “$650,000 in cash and $39.7 million in stock options.” That’s still a lot of money, but nowhere near $453.5 million.

The seventh most paid CEO of the top companies in the Fortune 500, skipping some of the names on the list, is Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. For the sixth straight year, Nadella was voted the “Most Underrated” CEO, although it’s hard to argue that someone is being underestimated when they get paid $309.4 million in one year.

The median total compensation for the 280 CEOs of the Fortune 500 that Fortune analyzed was $15.9 million last year, up 30% year-over-year. Running a tech company is hard work indeed, but those who run the best tech companies are well compensated for the hours and sweat they put into the job.

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