A powerful investors’ advisory group has called for shareholders to vote against the $99m (£73m) pay package awarded to Apple boss Tim Cook last year.
In a letter to shareholders, the advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) wrote there were “significant concerns regarding the design and magnitude of the equity award” made to Cook in 2021, adding that half of the award “lacks performance criteria”.
ISS had made the recommendation for when the company’s shareholders meet next month.
Cook, 61, has a personal fortune of $2.3bn, according to Forbes, and has been a vocal critic of social and economic inequality. He has pledged to give away his fortune before his death.
Last year, Cook took home $3m in salary, and received $82.3m in stock awards, $12m for hitting targets, and another $1.4m for air travel, retirement plan contributions, insurance premiums and other contributions.
His total remuneration package was worth $98.7m in 2021, compared with $14.8m a year earlier. Cook’s pay was 1,447 times that of the average Apple employee, according to a filing disclosed in January.
Apple has been one of the big winners of the pandemic. Its share price soared as the coronavirus pushed workers online.
In January, it briefly became the first company to be valued at $3tn, it became the first $1tn company in 2018.
Apple has so far escaped from the share price collapses experienced by some other tech giants including Meta, Facebook’s owner, and Netflix. In January the company reported an all-time record revenue of $123.9bn, 11% up from last year and higher than analysts’ had expected.
But shareholders have become increasingly unhappy with CEO pay deals. Last year a record number of S&P 500 companies failed to attract 50% support from shareholders for their CEO pay deals.
The vote against Cook’s pay package would be advisory only and Apple’s board would not be compelled to act on it.