Apple board member Millard Drexler to retire in March

Apple also reveals that CEO Tim Cook's total compensation more than doubled last year to $9.22 million, while retail chief Angela Ahrendts made $73.4 million.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
3 min read

Mickey Drexler (right), pictured with Martha Stewart, has served on Apple's board since 1999. Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook now has another hole to fill on the company's board.

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, who has served as an Apple director since 1999, told the company last week that he plans to retire at the end of his current term in March, according to a regulatory filing from Thursday. Apple's board hasn't yet nominated a replacement for Drexler, who, at 70 years old, is the oldest Apple director.

Apple also revealed that Cook made $9.22 million in total compensation last year, more than double the $4.25 million received in 2013. The increase largely comes from "nonequity incentive plan compensation," which is a sort of bonus for meeting certain performance goals for sales and operating income. The figure jumped to $6.7 million from $2.8 million, while Cook's base salary grew 25 percent to $1.75 million.

Apple's highest paid employee last year wasn't Cook, though. Instead, it was Angela Ahrendts, who Apple hired away from Burberry last year to lead the company's online and in-store retail efforts. She made $73.35 million, largely because of $70 million in stock awards. Her base salary totaled $411,538.

Other top-paid employees, based on total compensation, included Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of software and services, at $24.45 million; and Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of operations, at $24.4 million. Luca Maestri, who became chief financial officer in May 2014, received a total compensation of $14 million.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about Drexler's departure.

The news comes as Apple gears up for its fiscal first-quarter earnings report Tuesday and as it gets ready for its annual shareholder meeting on March 10. The company has been benefiting from soaring demand for its latest iPhones -- the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus -- and anticipation is high for its first wearable, the Apple Watch.

While serving on Apple's board, Drexler also has worked as the CEO and chairman of retailer J.Crew since 2003. Before joining J.Crew, Drexler served as chief executive of The Gap. During his time on Apple's board, Drexler has served on the compensation committee and the nominating and corporate governance committee. Drexler also was instrumental in Apple's retail strategy.

Apple Watch keeps up with the times (pictures)

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But he's departing the company as it prepares for one of its biggest retail challenges: figuring out how to sell the Apple Watch. A hallmark of the Apple Store has been letting consumers try out devices before they buy them. The wearable, which hits the market this spring, is a more personal device than even the iPhone and is as much a piece of jewelry as an electronic gadget, factors that present new challenges for Apple's retail stores. Apple Watch also veers from Apple's normal strategy of limiting its product line to only a few options. Rather, consumers will be able to choose from two different sizes and various bands and metal finishes for the watch.

Drexler's retirement from Apple's board comes as Cook puts his own stamp on the company after taking the helm in August 2011. It also comes six months after the departure of another major Apple director. Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell, who was one of the board members appointed by Steve Jobs in 1997 after Jobs returned to run the company, retired from his board role in July. Susan Wagner, founding partner and director of asset-management company BlackRock, joined Apple's board in Campbell's place.