Apple’s Tim Cook made $98M in 2021 — how that compares to other tech CEOs


Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook is flush with cash. The head of the world’s first company to reach a $3 trillion market cap took home a staggering $98.7 million in stock and cash in 2021. That’s a 571% increase in his compensation compared to 2020.

Cook, of course, has seen Apple through a slew of firsts including hitting a market cap of $1 trillion in 2018. Oh, and he also oversaw the release of everything from new versions of the Apple Watch to the company’s expansion into streaming services.

Cook didn’t just take home $98.7 million in cash, though. His base salary for 2021 was $3 million. The bulk of his compensation came in the form of stock awards valued at $82.3 million and $12 million in non-equity incentive compensation.

Either way, that’s enough scratch for anyone to live comfortably for 10 lifetimes. How does that compare to Cook’s contemporaries? Let’s put it this way: His compensation makes most of his closest competitors’ look paltry by comparison. Here’s how they compare based on the most recently available public data.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella — $49.9 million total compensation in 2021

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, gestures as he attends Microsoft’s ‘Young Innovators’ Summit’ in New Delhi, India February 26, 2020. His salary was roughly half of what Apple CEO Tim Cook made in 2021. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo Finance’s company of the year for 2021, has been on a tear in recent years thanks to the growth of its Azure cloud platform and transition to recurring revenue models for things like its Microsoft 365 platform. In 2020, the company reported revenue of $143 billion. In 2021, that increased to $168 billion.

CEO Satya Nadella has similarly seen his compensation package balloon over the years. In 2019, the chief executive pulled in $42.9 million between his base salary, stock awards, and Microsoft’s incentive plan compensation. That jumped to $44.3 million in 2020, and finally to $49.9 million in 2021.

Much of Nadella’s pay comes from those stock awards, with his 2021 salary totaling $2.5 million, and stock awards totaled $33 million. His incentive plan pay was worth $14.2 million.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai — $7.4 million total compensation in 2020

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during a keynote address announcing Google's new cloud gaming service, Stadia, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during a keynote address announcing Google’s new cloud gaming service, Stadia, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Google parent Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) hasn’t released its 2021 full year revenue, so it’s difficult to make a direct comparison to Apple and Microsoft’s 2021 results. But in 2020, the company made $182.5 million, up from $161.9 in 2019.

That’s proven especially fruitful for Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who’s earned more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the last three years. In 2018, the CEO earned $1.8 million in cash and other compensation including a salary of $650,000. In 2019, Pichai made the same salary, but received stock awards valued at $276.6 million, in addition to other compensation totaling $3.4 million. That works out to a compensation package worth $280 million.

In 2020, the CEO didn’t receive any stock awards, but his salary jumped to $2 million. He also received $5.4 million in compensation that was largely used to pay for personal security, for a total of $7.4 million in 2020. We’ll find out about Pichai’s 2021 earnings when Alphabet releases its 2022 proxy statement later this year.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg — $25.3 million in 2020

Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses the audience on

Meta Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Like Alphabet, Facebook parent company Meta (FB) has yet to release its full fiscal 2021 earnings; but in 2020 the company saw total revenue of $86 billion, a 22% increase over its 2019 revenue of $70.7 billion.

Zuckerberg, however, famously takes a yearly salary of $1. What’s more, the majority of his compensation from 2018 through 2020, totaling $712.6 million, was dedicated to personal security for Zuckerberg and his family. A portion of that, some $7.4 million. was spent on private jet flights for the CEO.

Why no salary? Because the majority of Zuckerberg’s wealth is tied up in the massive share of Meta stock he holds. According to the company’s latest proxy statement, Zuckerberg holds more than 350 million shares of Meta. He also controls 57.7% of total voting power, meaning he controls all of the decisions the company makes.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy — $35.8 million in 2020, when he was CEO of AWS

Andy Jassy, CEO Amazon Web Services, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 25, 2016.     REUTERS/Mike Blake

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Amazon (AMZN) has yet to release its 2022 proxy statement, and is expected to provide its full 2021 earnings in the coming weeks. In 2020, however, the company saw some $386 billion in total sales across its products and services. That’s up from $280.5 billion in 2019.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is still relatively new to his position as overseer of all of Amazon’s properties. And since he only took over the role from founder and current star man Jeff Bezos in July, Amazon’s latest proxy statement doesn’t list his new compensation as Amazon CEO.

Instead, it provides a look at his earnings as CEO of the company’s most lucrative arm, Amazon Web Services. That said, according to regulatory filings, Amazon granted the new head of Amazon more than $200 million worth of stock when he assumed his role.

As head of AWS, though, Jassy made $35.8 million including $35.6 million in stock awards in 2020. He also previously received $19.5 million in stock in 2018. His base salary has remained steady over the last three years at $175,000.

Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, is one of the richest people on Earth and owns roughly 10% of Amazon’s total shares.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk — $0 in 2020

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures as he visits the construction site of Tesla's Gigafactory in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany, August 13, 2021. Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures as he visits the construction site of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany, August 13, 2021. Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters

Tesla (TSLA) is a titan of the automotive world, and CEO Elon Musk is every bit as well compensated as you’d expect. The company will release its full year 2021 earnings in the coming weeks; however, in 2020 it saw revenue of $31.5 billion, up from $24.6 billion in 2019, and $21.5 billion in 2018.

Musk, meanwhile, has no salary. In 2018 he earned $56,380 as his base pay and a CEO performance award of $2.3 billion worth of stock. However, that is subject to Musk meeting certain criteria such as the company hitting certain market capitalization milestones.

Under the plan, Musk can purchase the stock at $70.01 per share, an incredibly deep discount compared to its going rate of north of $1,000 per share.

In 2019, Musk earned a base salary equivalent to California’s minimum wage requirement. He’s never cashed out his checks, though. And in May 2019 he requested that the company no longer pay him a salary at all. He received no salary or stock compensation in 2020 — though he’s not doing too badly as one of the richest people on Earth.

Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings — $34.7 million in 2022

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, speaks during the opening night of the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 24, 2016.     REUTERS/Mike Blake

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, speaks during the opening night of the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Netflix (NFLX) will release its full year 2021 earnings report on Jan. 20, so we don’t have a look at how it performed over the last 12 months, but its 2020 performance was a step up from 2019. The company took in $25 billion in 2020 compared to $20.2 billion in the prior year.

Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings, who shares the title with Ted Sarandos, brought in $34.7 million in cash and stock in 2022, the same amount he received in 2021, and down from $43.2 million in 2020.

Hastings’ compensation comes in the form of a salary of $650,000 and stock options priced at $34 million. In 2020, the co-CEO received the same salary and stock option awards worth $42.4 million.

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