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After collecting the largest paycheck of any American CEO at $378 million in 2011, Apple chief Tim Cook 2012's salary topped out at just $4.2 million in the company's first year without Steve Jobs — still not exactly the Jobsian dollar-a-year policy, especially since it's more than it seems. Looking at the 2011 numbers for top executive salaries, which often feature compensation in the two-figure range, Cook now makes a little less than the heads of Best Buy and Loews, who make $5 million each in a lower tier, and a lot less than, say, Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison and his $76 million annual take home last year. 

That might sound like a lousy way to show appreciation for a man who's led Apple stock to its highest-ever market capitalization. (It has seen a bit of a dip in the last few months, however, now hovering closer to $500 per share than $600.) But the CEO's base salary actually went up. Last year, Cook got $900,000 just for showing up. Apple bumped that up to around $1.4 million for 2012, which the company calculated based on other CEO salaries:

The reason for the $374 million pay cut has to do with the stock options Apple gave its CEO last year, which it did not do this year, as is customary within the company. "Mr. Cook did not receive an RSU award in 2012 in light of the RSU award he received in connection with his promotion to CEO in August 2011," reads the SEC document prepared in advance of Apple's shareholders meeting in February. Last year he receieved 1 million restricted shares, worth about $376.2 million at the time, when Apple's stock price sat north of $550 per share. The first half of those will divest in August 2016, the other half in August 2024.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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