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In Executive Pay, a Rich Game of Thrones
07 Apr 2012 EDT - The New York Times
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Many credit Mr. Cook, along with Mr. Jobs, for Apple’s recent success. And the company is quick to note that Mr. Cook’s pay package extends over 10 years. One-half of his stock is scheduled to vest in 2016, and the other in 2021, provided that Mr. Cook still works for Apple. And, at a time when some investors seethe over far smaller paychecks — a mere eight figures is relatively commonplace for top chief executives these days — Apple’s shareholders are hardly up in arms over the magnitude of Mr. Cook’s reward. To the contrary, a vast majority voted in favor of it.

Of course, most of us can’t begin to wrap our heads around pay figures like these. An American with a bachelor’s degree, after all, typically makes $2.3 million, not in a year, but over a lifetime, according to a recent study from Georgetown University.

Data on CEO compensation in 2011, albeit preliminary, confirm what many of us already know: The top brass generally do much, much better than the rest of us, whether times are good or bad. After the ups and downs of the recent boom-bust years, pay among the 100 best-paid chief executives at big American corporations held fairly steady in 2011, according to Equilar, which reviewed CEO compensation for The New York Times. Here are some numbers worth knowing:

• Among the 100 top-paid CEOs, overall pay last year rose a scant 2 percent from 2010.

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