Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple CEO Tim Cook to forgo a $75 million dividend payout

May 24, 2012: 8:07 PM ET

Asks the board not to issue dividends on his 1.125 million restricted stock units

FORTUNE -- It's not everybody who can afford to turn down $75 million. But given the attention his bonus package has gotten, it may be that Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook couldn't afford not to.

In an amendment filed with the SEC Friday, the company's compensation committee determined that the $2.65 per share cash dividend scheduled to be paid to shareholders this summer should also be applied to the restricted stock units (RSUs) granted to selected Apple employees.

"As restricted stock units are not outstanding shares of common stock and thus would not otherwise be entitled to participate in such dividends," the amendment explains, "the crediting of dividend equivalents is intended to preserve the equity-based incentives intended by the Company when the awards were granted and to treat the award holders consistently with shareholders."

Then the document goes on to make an exception for Tim Cook:

"At Mr. Cook's request, none of his restricted stock units will participate in dividend equivalents. Assuming a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share over the vesting periods of his 1.125 million outstanding restricted stock units, Mr. Cook will forego approximately $75 million in dividend equivalent value."

Apple got some bad press earlier this year when it granted Cook 1 million restricted stock units as an incentive to stay with the company. Although his RSUs don't fully vest for 10 years, many news outlets -- including some that should know better -- treated the unvested shares as if they were the same as cash in hand. The New York Times, for example, dubbed Cook "The 378 Million Man." See Apple CEO's earnings: The New York Times gets it wrong

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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