Apple gives Tim Cook $376 million stock award

In deciding the award's size, Apple's board cited the importance of retaining Cook and hypothetical opportunities he forewent to stay at Apple.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
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Apple's Cook.
Apple's Cook. James Martin/CNET

Even though he's only officially been Apple's chief executive for a few months, Tim Cook received a handsome compensation package for the job he did in 2011.

Cook, who took over the helm at the tech giant when Steve Jobs resigned at the end of August, received $378 million in compensation for the year, according to a proxy statement (PDF) filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition to his 2011 base salary of $900,000, Cook received $376 million in restricted stock and other compensation. The committee also increased Cook's base salary from $900,000 to $1.4 million.

Apple's board of directors said the size of the award was based on "Cook's performance in assuming responsibility for the company's day-to-day operations during Mr. Jobs's prior leaves of absence. The Board also took into account the 10-year vesting period of the award, the importance of retaining Mr. Cook, and the opportunities Mr. Cook would likely have if he were to seek other employment."

Cook, who served as Apple's chief operating officer for seven years before being named CEO, filled in for Jobs during his three medical leaves of absence. Cook was first called on to fill in for Jobs in 2004, running the company's day-to-day operations for a few months while Jobs recovered from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his pancreas and when Jobs had a liver transplant in 2009.

This isn't the first time the board has showed its appreciation to Cook for his performance during Jobs' absence. In August, a few days after Cook assumed the role of CEO full time, the board gave Cook 1 million restricted shares of Apple stock, half of which will be vested in five years time.

After filling in for Jobs from January 2009 to June 2009, Apple's board rewarded Cook with a $5 million bonus, as well as 75,000 restricted stock units as a thank-you for "his outstanding performance."