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Apple COO Makes $59 Million After Filling in for Jobs

Apple Inc. Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
Apple Inc. Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Apple Inc. Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook received total compensation of $59.1 million in fiscal 2010 because of bonuses for running day-to-day operations during Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs’s medical leave.

Cook was given a $5 million bonus and $52.3 million in stock awards for the year ended September 2010, Cupertino, California-based Apple said today in a regulatory filing. Cook’s total compensation was up from $1.64 million in 2009, while his salary remained at about $800,000.

Cook, 50, took over daily management when Jobs went on a nearly six-month medical leave to have a liver transplant in 2009. Cook and his team were praised by investors and analysts for running the company smoothly during Jobs’s absence. Apple said Cook received the special bonus and stock in recognition of “his outstanding performance” during that period.

Jobs collected $1 last year, his salary since returning to Apple in 1997. He holds about 5.5 million shares in the company and hasn’t sold any since rejoining, according to the proxy.

Apple gained $2.39 to $336.12 at 4:30 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares rose 53 percent last year, compared with a 13 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Jobs’s Health

In 2004, Cook also filled in for Jobs, while the CEO recuperated from surgery for a tumor in his pancreas. After the treatment, Jobs looked thinner at events through 2008 and the company’s stock fluctuated amid speculation about his health. He announced he was taking time off in January 2009.

Apple said today that its annual meeting will take place Feb. 23, when a vote will be held on a shareholder proposal advocating for a public CEO succession plan.

The Central Laborers’ Pension Fund, which owns 11,484 shares, is asking the company to review a succession plan annually, develop internal candidates, begin non-emergency succession planning at least three years before an expected transition and maintain an emergency strategy. The Illinois pension fund is proposing that the board share the plan with investors each year.

Apple is recommending investors vote against the proposal, arguing that a public succession plan would reveal confidential business strategies to competitors and make it easier for them to lure away talented executives. Also, executives not named as potential successors may leave the company. Apple said it already privately plans for succession of senior managers, including the CEO, every year.

Potential Successors?

“The Company takes succession planning seriously, and the board has adopted a comprehensive process to ensure continuity and maintain the superior quality of its management team,” Apple said in the filing. “This process also allows flexibility to adjust to unanticipated changes in the market.”

Jobs first talked about potential successors in March 2008, saying Apple’s board would have “great choices” among the executive team if he decided to leave. At the time he named Cook and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer as potential successors.

Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976 and was ousted in 1985, returned 12 years later when the company was struggling to sell its Macintosh personal computers. He’s since attracted buyers with redesigned Mac models, as well as new devices like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Apple also said today that Cook’s salary for the current fiscal year was boosted to $900,000 because of additional job responsibilities.

CFO Oppenheimer was paid $29.8 million, compared with $1.4 million the year before. He received $28.4 million worth of stock awards, and his base salary stayed at about $700,000.

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