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Tim Cook's 2020 pay of $14.7M is about average for a S&P 500 CEO

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Apple CEO Tim Cook's compensation for heading up the most valuable company in the United States is relatively modest, placed in 171st position in rankings of S&P 500 CEO earnings.

Apple is at the top of the Standard & Poor's 500 rankings in terms of market capitalization but CEO Tim Cook's direct pay from the company is far lower than many others in the list.

Compiling the compensation data for 416 CEOs from the 500 companies on that list, Tim Cook's total pay for 2000 was $14,769,259, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite seeming high, and also rising 28% from his 2019 compensation, this only puts Cook in position 171 on the list.

While the rankings indicate Cook is getting paid similarly to other major CEOs, it's not the entire story. Given that many CEOs, including Cook, are stockholders in the company they lead, their salary can become only a small part of their total overall income.

For example, a similar report from Bloomberg in 2019 reported Cook's pay at $133.7 million for the year. While his starting salary for that year was $3 million and he also had $7.7 million in bonuses and $884,000 in perks, he also received $122.2 million in stock awards.

Such stock earnings mean that Cook and other CEOs can earn far more than their salary. In Cook's case, his personal net worth crossed the $1 billion mark in August 2020.

Cook trails far behind Paycom CEO Chad R. Richison, who topped the list with $211 million in total pay, followed by Shantanu Narayen of Adobe in third with $45 million, the $23 million earned by Daniel H. Schulman of Paypal in 49th place, and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna in 122nd with $17 million.

At the other end of the scale, Warren Buffet is in 413rd place with $380,328, Jack Dorsey of Twitter is in 414 with a token $1 salary, and Elon Musk is in last with $0.

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