Highest paid US executives work for Apple

In a recent report posted by Bloomberg, four of the five highest paid employees in the US are, surprisingly, not CEOs. Four executives from Apple, namely Bob Mansfield, Bruce Sewell, Jeffrey Williams and Peter Oppenheimer headline 2012’s compensation figures for top earners as filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Last year was the second consecutive year that the Cupertino giant generously compensated its employees to keep the team that transformed the company into the world’s most valuable technology company.

According to Greg Sterling, analyst from Opus Research, this is a retention strategy employed by Apple to keep key executives that were part of the Steve Jobs era. This is to ensure that the talents they bring to the company are retained as well as to maintain confidence in Apple’s leadership.

Mansfield, Apple’s Senior VP of Technologies, received the second largest compensation package last year when he received $85.5M, almost entirely in stock. His base salary, similar to Sewell, Williams and Oppenheimer, was at $805,400 but immediately jumped after receiving 150,000 restricted stock units right after Jobs death. Mansfield led Apple’s hardware engineering group until he announced his retirement plans last June. However, with his team members’ complaints regarding the preparedness of supposed replacement Dan Riccio, he was eventually persuaded by Tim Cook and the board to reverse course.

On the other hand, Sewell, Apple’s lead lawyer, received a $69M compensation package, ranking him third in the ranking. He led Apple’s patent infringement lawsuits including last year’s $1.05B win against Samsung Electronics.

Williams, receiving $68.7M, came in fourth. He is Senior VP of Operations, assuming many of Cook’s former duties including supply chain management and manufacturing partners relations.

Oppenheimer, Apple’s Chief Financial Officer, received $68.6M in total compensation last year, leaving him in fifth place. He is responsible in guiding the company’s strategy in handling its $137.1B cash pile.

Interestingly, Tim Cook, Apple CEO, placed 1,016 in the rankings with a $4.17M package. The four previously mentioned executives all earned more than Cook, but that is primarily because Cook received $378M for 2011, all nearly in restricted stock awards set for over a decade. He was the highest paid CEO in 2011.

Oracle Corporation’s CEO Larry Ellison, meanwhile, topped the four big earners from Apple with a compensation package of $96.2M last year.

The data compiled by Bloomberg include base salary, bonuses, equity and other benefits for the 2012 fiscal year. The rankings include figures filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for 2,050 executives working at 410 companies.


Source: Bloomberg.com