Say what? Tim Cook ranks 10th on ‘list of 100 Most Overpaid CEOs’

As You Sow — a shareholder advocacy nonprofit — has released its 9th annual report — “The 100 Most Overpaid CEOs: Are Fund Managers Asleep at the Wheel?” — which focuses on how pension and financial fund managers hold companies accountable for excessive compensation. Apple’s Tim Cook ranks 10th on the list.

According to the report, Cook makes $98,734,394. Preceding him on the list, and their salaries are: David Zaslav, Warner Bros, Discovery, $246,573,481;Fabrizio Freda, Esteee Lauder Companies, $65,996,984; Jay A. Snowden, Penn National Gaming, $65,887,214; Patrick Gelsinger, Intel, $178,590,400; Gleen D. Fogel, Booking Holdings, $53,982,195; William R. McDermott, ServiceNow, 4165,802,037; James Dimon, JP Morgan Chase & Company, $84,428,145; Robert G. Goldstein, Las Vegas Sands Corp., $31,204,900; and Andrew R. Jassy,, $212,701,169. 

Obviously, the list isn’t determined just by salary. It compares a CEO’s salary with shareholder returns. And since Apple is, arguably, the most profitable company in the world, it’s easy to argue that Cook shouldn’t be on the list. That said, key takeaways from the As You Sow report:

• Total pay for S&P 500 chief executives continues to increase. The average pay of the “100 Most Overpaid CEOs” for this report was $38,192,249, up 30.6% from last year’s average of $29,233,020. The median pay — less influenced by the massive stock awards that inflate pay at the very top — was $23,455,188, representing an increase of 8% over the prior year. 

• The gap between CEO and median worker pay has also increased. According to the AFL-CIO, the chief executives of S&P 500 companies received 324 times that of their median-paid workers on average, up from 299 times in 2020 and 264 times in 2019. At Amazon, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio reached 6,474 to 1, with CEO Andrew Jassy making $212.7 million in total compensation while the median worker received $32,855.

• Shareholder opposition to pay packages continues to grow.In the S&P 500, shareholder votes against CEO pay continued its five-year upward trajectory to a high of 12.6% opposition, gaining 4.2 percentage points in votes against since 2017. As detailed in this report, more funds are voting against more pay packages. If it weren’t for the continued weak response from a handful of the big players, the message that shareholders are fed up would be clearer.

• Companies with overpaid CEOs continue to underperform. Companies with the 10 most overpaid CEOs (as named in our previous reports) once again saw shareholder returns much worse than the S&P 500 index. 

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.