Apple CEO Tim Cook will voluntarily take a pay cut this year, if shareholders approve at the upcoming Apple Investor Day held on March 10.
Cook's reduced compensation is one of several proposals put forth in a proxy statement for shareholders ahead of Investor Day. It notes that Apple's CEO supports the move to drop his combined salary and expected compensation to $49 million in 2023, down from $99 million last year. Aside from $9 million in base salary and cash incentives, the rest of that compensation is in equity that's tied to performance -- Cook actually made $15 million above his target pay in 2022 given how well the company did in sales and income.
Several members of Apple's board form a Compensation Committee that decides executive pay, and according to the proxy statement, they proposed this pay cut partially in response to shareholder feedback. This comes in the form of a yearly vote at the annual investor meeting, internally called Say on Pay, which asks shareholders whether they agree with how much executives, mainly Cook, are compensated -- which plummeted last year to 64% approval, down from nearly 95% in 2021.
Ultimately, this pay cut seems like a course correction to reflect the opinions of shareholders, who were fine paying Cook more in previous years. Apple has weathered the pandemic and supply chain shortages well, and at the time shareholders expressed lower confidence, the company had just reported record revenues up 11% in the first quarter of 2022. But as the just-released proxy document noted, Cook's $99 million compensation was 1,177 times the $84,493 salary of Apple's median employee.