Freshly minted Apple CEO Tim Cook now has added incentive to stay with the company for the next decade, according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Apple's board of directors has awarded Cook with one million shares of restricted company stock. He will receive half that block in 2016 and the remainder in 2021, subject to his "continued employment with Apple through each such date." Depending on the respective Apple stock prices at those times, Cook's net worth could increase by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Cook is taking Apple's reins following the departure of co-founder Steve Jobs, who has wrestled with health issues in recent years. Cook already served as interim CEO during Jobs' periodic departures on medical leave, and his work as COO to refine Apple's supply chain means he knows the company inside and out.
Despite Jobs' role for many years as Apple's very public face, most analysts seem to believe-at least at this stage-that his departure will have little material effect on the company's fortunes.
"Apple's product development roadmap stretches into multiple years ahead and has been shaped both by Jobs and by the organization he built," Forrester analyst JP Gownder wrote in an Aug. 24 corporate blog posting. "Jobs' departure won't affect Apple's product portfolio, quality or competitiveness for a long time-if ever."
Other analysts concurred on that point.
"Apple has been run by a team of very accomplished visionaries that includes Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Jonathan Ive, Scott Forestal, Ron Johnson and a host of others," Carl Howe, an analyst with the Yankee Group, wrote in an Aug. 25 blog posting. "Steve was [the] public face of the company, but we shouldn't think that he was the only one making all the decisions."
Certainly Cook has been very public about keeping the company on its current course.
"I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change," he wrote in an email to Apple employees as reprinted on Apple-centric blogs such as 9to5Mac. "Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that-it is in our DNA."
Over the next few quarters, Apple is expected to release the next-generation editions of its iPhone and iPad. While the latter has managed to dominate the tablet market, fending off challenges from the likes of the Motorola Xoom and Hewlett-Packard's now-defunct TouchPad, the iPhone faces a significant challenge from a variety of smartphones running Google Android.