Back in March, Apple announced that their stockholders would begin receiving a dividend payment of $2.65 per share of non-restricted stock. In a document filed with the SEC yesterday, the company announced that it would also begin paying dividend equivalents to Apple employees who had been compensated with restricted stock units (RSUs). Because RSUs are not considered outstanding common stock, they would not be eligible for the dividend payment announced in March. Those employees who have been given RSUs will receive the same $2.65 per unit that shareholders will receive. when Apple starts sending out dividend payments later this year.
Interestingly, the SEC filing specifically excludes CEO Tim Cook from the payments. Cook currently owns 1.125 million RSUs. The vast majority of those shares – 1 million of them, in fact, came to Cook when he took the CEO job last year. By declining to take the dividend equivalents on them, Cook is passing up on a potential income of $75 million.
Cook’s reasons for doing so aren’t clear, but it’s not hard to guess. Cook is already the highest paid CEO in the country with an income of $376.2 million last year. With that much money coming at him, $75 million isn’t quite such a huge sum. It’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, but by the same token, it’s probably a small price to pay to endear himself to Apple’s stockholdiing employees.