It wasn't his base salary that took Cook to those heights. That was only a modest $900,000. However, he was awarded Apple stock as incentive for him to stay put at Apple as Jobs' successor, and was valued at $376.2 million initially. As of the end of last week, it had risen in value to roughly $634 million.
No. 2 on the list of top-paid chief executives was another technology CEO, Oracle's Larry Ellison with total compensation valued at $77.6 million. In third place was the J.C. Penney CEO Ronald Johnson at $53.3 million.
Ironically, Johnson left a senior vice president position at Apple to take the J.C. Penney job. That meant that he also left behind an unvested stock package that would have been worth $159 million at current share prices. Can you say oops?
Rounding out the top five among the 100 CEOs surveyed were Phillippe Dauman of Viacom at $43.1 million and David Cole of Honeywell at $35.3 million.
Clearly, corporations are returning to business as usual after the Great Recession.