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Apple shovels $400m in stock grants to top execs

'Stick around, guys, and we'll make it worth your while'

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Updated Apple CEO Tim Cook and his board of directors appear keen on keeping their executive brain trust intact – so much so that they have just shelled out around $400m worth of stock options* to their top talent.

"Our executive team is incredibly talented and they are all dedicated to Apple’s continued success," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling told Bloomberg Businessweek. "These stock grants are meant to reward them down the road for their hard work in helping to keep Apple the most innovative company in the world."

Six of Apple's top execs received options on 150,000 shares, half scheduled to vest in June 2013, half in March 2016 "assuming continued employment through the applicable vesting date" – which seems only fair, eh?

At noon on Monday, Cupertino time, Apple's shares were going for $399.10 a pop, meaning that at today's prices, each of the Big Six would receive just a hair under $60m, and Cue would get $40m. But don't feel sorry for the relatively new Cue: he picked up a previous 100,000 this September.

Two names are conspicuously absent from the list: CEO Cook and überdesigner Jonathan Ive. Again, no pity is needed – Cook received options on one million shares at the end of August, set to fully vest by 2021.

Also, we can only assume that the desire to keep the group intact includes keeping Ive happy. However, since he's not considered to be among the executive brain trust under the rules of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, his compensation can be kept private.

We're reasonably confident that some honey was poured Ive's way, as well. ®

* Update

As pointed out by a Reg reader, the shares granted to the Apple execs were not merely stock options, but instead "restricted stock units" – meaning that the shares themselves have been granted and will become available upon their vesting dates, and will not need to be purchased by the execs, which would have been the case had they been options.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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