Apple CEO’s public relations dividend

Adriene Hill May 25, 2012

Apple CEO’s public relations dividend

Adriene Hill May 25, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: There are all kinds of stories out there about CEOs working for a dollar a year. A dollar in actual salary, that is. They still get their more lucrative stock and options.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has now raised the stakes and taken the compensation give-back game into record territory. He’s turned down a $75 million stock dividend.

Marketplace’s Adriene Hill reports.

Adriene Hill: Apple’s products are, at the very least, expensive and good to look at. The same could be said for the $75 million gesture by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Camelia Kuhnen: To tell everybody look, we’re a good company. We’re not trying to be greedy here. Our CEO is not trying to be greedy.

Camelia Kuhnen is a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Kuhnen: One can speculate, yes, that this was maybe a bit of a PR move.

Charles Elson: Oh I think it’s a very smart call.

Charles Elson heads the Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He says refusing the dividend helps Cook keep a low profile, at a time when the public is fed up with CEO salaries.

Elson: CEO pay is at the heart of the political debate, it’s at heart of the financial debate, and less is better today.


Elson: By forgoing this bonus, he’s buying I wouldn’t necessarily say shareholder support, but shareholder neutrality.

And really, does a guy like Tim Cook — with hundreds of millions in Apple stock and a seven-figure salary — really need another $75 million?

David Larcker heads the Corporate Governance Research Program at Stanford.

David Larcker: May be the case that he looks and this and says, you know, I was given a bunch of stock grants of $300-odd-million and that’s enough.

Yeah, I think that’d be enough for me too.

I’m Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

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