The biggest pay swing went to Apple CEO Tim Cook, whose pay was valued at a whopping $378 million in 2011 and comparatively trivial $4.2 million in 2012. Apple granted Cook a $376 million "promotion and retention award" in 2011, but there was no such stock award last year.
Among those who made gains, 11 tech CEOs got raises of 20% or more, including Michael Dell, who saw his compensation nearly quadrupled to $16.1 million in 2012, up from $4.3 million in 2011. Dell's pay package included stock and option awards valued at $11.8 million, a $986,601 salary and $3.3 million bonus. A year earlier, Dell's CEO didn't receive any equity awards.
A big increase in equity awards also lifted compensation for Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr, who earned $8.9 million in 2012 compared to $933,429 in 2011.
Thorsten Heins, who was promoted to BlackBerry CEO last year, netted a five-fold pay increase in 2012. His $10.2 million compensation package (up from $1.9 million in 2011) included a $670,222 salary and equity awards valued at $9.5 million.
While nothing can compare to Cook's spectacular pay cut, other tech CEOs also experienced multi-million dollar declines.
Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown saw his package decline 65% to $10.3 million in 2012 from $29.3 million in the prior year. In his first full year as AMD CEO, Rory Read saw his compensation halved to $7.3 million, down from $15.6 million in 2011. At Verizon, total compensation for CEO Lowell McAdam was slashed by 39% to $14 million in 2012, down from $23.1 million a year earlier.
Cash compensation represents a fraction of CEO pay. Across all industries, the median base salary for CEOs was $1.15 million, which is up just 1.3% compared to 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal/Hay Group 2012 CEO Compensation Study. Annual incentive payments (performance-based cash bonuses) were flat at $2.1 million. Taken together, overall median cash compensation was flat at $3.2 million, concludes the Hay Group study.
Specific to tech, Network World observed smaller cash payouts. Among the 49 packages examined, the median salary was $932,615 and the median bonus amount was $1.5 million.
As mentioned, Comcast's Roberts landed the biggest salary ($2.8 million) and largest cash bonus ($9 million) among the tech CEOs studied.
After Roberts, the top cash bonus recipients were: John Coyne, former CEO of Western Digital ($6.8 million); Glenn Britt, CEO of Time Warner Cable ($6.6 million); Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T ($6.1 million); William Brown, CEO of Harris ($5.3 million); and Paul Otellini, former Intel CEO ($5.2 million).
Six tech CEOs didn't receive any cash bonus: Google's Page, Amazon's Bezos, Aruba's Orr, Extreme's Rodriquez, BlackBerry's Heins and Avaya's Kennedy.
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