Second Runner-Up: Tim Cook, Apple
Although Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock has hit the skids in 2013, down 13% year-to-date, CEO Tim Cook did a nice job in 2012 delivering a total return of nearly 33%.
More to the point, Cook’s total direct compensation of $4.16 million in 2012 means the CEO generated a 1% total return for every $127,000 in total direct compensation. That might seem like a lot until you consider that former SuperValu (NYSE:SVU) CEO Craig Herkert (fired July 30, 2012) was paid $116,154 for every percentage point of the 67.4% drop in SVU’s value.
Meanwhile, Cook’s 2012 compensation was 99% lower than in 2011, when he received $378 million — most of which came in the form of restricted stock units that will vest in 2016 and 2021. While ridiculed at the time, Cook’s compensation package virtually guarantees he’ll be at the helm for almost a decade to receive his generous payday. From a continuity perspective, it makes a lot of sense.