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Apple's Tim Cook sees his 2012 pay fall 99 percent

The Apple CEO's $4.2M in total 2012 compensation is vastly smaller than what he received in 2011 and 2010, although the drop has nothing to do with Cook's performance.

Apple CEO Tim Cook James Martin/CNET

Apple CEO Tim Cook received only $4.2 million in compensation this year.

A proxy statement Apple filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed Cook's base salary as $1.3 million with non-cash compensation making up the rest.

In contrast, Cook was given $378 million in overall compensation last year and $59 million the previous year. But the lower total compensation is all part of a plan.

As described by The Next Web, Apple's board gave Cook 1 million in restricted shares in August 2011 when it appointed him CEO. Worth around $376 million at that time, those shares were designed as a promotion and retention award.

Half of those shares will vest on August 24, 2016, and the other half on August 24, 2021. Given the vast number of restricted stock units (RSUs) in that award, the board didn't grant Cook any stock awards this year.

Looking at the stock awards for the past three years in the SEC filing, 2012 shows no amount, while 2011 and 2010 show such awards making up almost all of Cook's total compensation.

The board did bump Cook's salary this year. For 2012, Apple's CEO took home a paycheck of $1.3 million, up from $900,000 last year and $800,000 the year before.

"In deciding to increase the cash compensation for Mr. Cook, the Compensation Committee considered the Company's financial results, Mr. Cook's responsibilities as CEO, and his total cash compensation opportunities as compared to the total cash compensation opportunities of the other named executive officers as well as the total cash compensation opportunities of CEOs at peer companies," Apple wrote in its proxy statement.

Still, as Apple acknowledged, Cook's 2012 salary was significantly lower than the median cash compensation for CEOs at peer companies. Of course, at least it's higher than the $1 in annual pay that Steve Jobs took to run the company. But the late Apple co-founder did well enough from the stock options and other non-cash compensation during his years at the helm.