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President’s Day: Executive Stock Compensation Rates


President Bush raised a few eyebrows recently when he scolded some of the lavish executive compensation packages (as reported by In honor of President’s Day, let’s look at some of the more well known Presidents, CEOs and their executive stock compensation rates, starting with the Chairman of Apple – Steve Jobs. For several years now, Steve Jobs has drawn a measly executive annual salary of $1. However, Jobs fares far better in the area of executive stock compensation rates (even with the backdating controversy).

In March 2003, Jobs was compensated with 10 million restricted shares of Apple stock. In 2006, Jobs sold 45 percent of his Apple stock for $295 million. His executive stock compensation rates didn’t stop there. He cashed in again when Pixar Animation Studios was sold to Disney. Admittedly, Jobs was not just CEO at Pixar, but also founder. Recent articles on executive compensation in placed Jobs’ net wealth at $4.4 billion. Backdating controversies aside, executive compensation packages, and starting 3 companies, have been good to Steve Jobs.

How does your salary compare to Steve Jobs executive annual salary of $1?  Find out with our salary calculator.

Recent Articles on Executive Compensation

If we look at the other executives at Apple, we see that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook’s executive compensation included a $696,880 executive annual salary (quite a bit more than Jobs’ $1) and a $525,000 bonus. How did he fair in the wild and wooly world of executive stock compensation rates? According to, Cook also pocketed a “previously disclosed restricted stock award valued at around $21.6 million.”

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Also at Apple, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer earned an executive annual salary of $615,006 (more than Jobs, but less than Cook) and his executive compensation included a $450K bonus. In the arena of executive stock compensation rates, Oppenheimer received $14.4 million worth of restricted stock, and cashed in close to $55.9 million from an exercise of stock options during the past year.

Even though Jobs’s payout from Apple is enormous, I don’t begrudge it. Some of the Apple stock came from selling Next Computers to Apple, and the rest came from taking a company that was hemoraging money and turning it into a profitable producer of computers and IPods.

I am less impressed with Cook and Oppenheimer: they were just there for the ride, and received an enormous windfall for it.

Executive Compensation Packages

When Terry Semel left his top position (with Bob Daly) at Warner Bros. Studios to be Yahoo’s Chairman and Chief Executive, more than a few people rolled their eyes. Here was a guy running the biggest studio in Hollywood leaving his power position for the web? reported that, in 2006, to Semel’s executive annual salary and bonus totaled only $600K, but his total executive compensation – restricted stock and the estimated value of options – was $56.8 million, far more than a studio chief.

Like Steve Jobs, Terry Semel will start drawing a tiny executive annual salary of $1 (through 2008), but don’t feel bad for Terry. According to, over the next three years his executive compensation packages will include eligibility for an annual bonus of up to one million fully vested non-qualified stock options and the option to purchase 6 million Yahoo stock shares at a strike price of $31.59.

Compensation Report

More new $1 executive annual salary earners for 2007 will include those guys at Google: Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, and co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Their cut in executive annual salary will be offset by the millions they have all made via executive stock compensation. Sergey and Larry are reportedly worth around $12.8 billion each.

As reported on, a surprising newcomer to the $1 executive annual salary club is Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. In 2006, Mackey earned an annual salary of $356K, not earthshaking by CEO standards. We don’t have any stats for his shareholder info, but Mackey reportedly gave this reason for taking a cut down to dollar: “I’ve always followed my heart, and this is what my heart is telling me is the appropriate thing to do right now.”

Not so Profitable Executive Compensation Plans

A corporate leader who is led more by the heart than the pocketbook is craigslist founder Craig Newmark, who was profiled in Salary Stories. Craig refuses to get rich off his web site, which draws a reported 60 million page hits a month. He drives a ’92 Saturn, rents an apartment and refuses to sell craigslist, even though he’s been offered millions. No one knows exactly how much Newmark earns, but his current annual salary is reportedly less than his prior salary as a computer programmer.

To add to the mystery, recent articles on executive compensation say that craigslist takes in around $7 million in income and that Newmark earns around $200K annually. Our Payscale staff asked Craig to confirm or deny this number, but he refused. At least he was nice about it, he answered us with a smiley face =o). Accurate or not, he reportedly donates money to 50 schools and non-profits. What is Craig’s dream? Reports say to find a wife. A suitable sentiment for Valentine’s Day.

Wondering if you could make more, so you could afford to give more away? Find out with our salary calculator.


Dr. Al Lee

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