Apple chief Tim Cook opts out of $75m dividend

Chief executive gives up dividend on shares he received for running the company during Steve Jobs' medical leaves

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has opted to forgo the $75m (£48m) dividend payments that he was set to earn on the 1m shares he has received from the company.

Cook, who took over from Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs in August last year, was awarded 1m restricted stock units (RSUs) for running the company during Jobs' medical leaves.

Apple said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday night that Cook had asked the company to be excluded from a programme through which employees could accumulate dividends on their RSUs that were still vesting.

With Apple's share price at more than $565 a share, Cook's shares are worth more than $500m. Half of these shares will vest in 2016 and the rest in 2021.

In March, Apple announced its intention to use some of its estimated $100bn cash pile, generated by strong sales of the iPhone and iPad, to pay shareholders a dividend of $2.65 a share.

It is the first time since the technology giant turned its fortunes around after Jobs' return in 1997 that Apple has issued a dividend.

Apple is one of few companies on the Nasdaq that pay a dividend.

Shareholders of American technology companies traditionally tolerate firms not paying dividends, which allows them to invest heavily in research and development and fund big acquisitions.

Despite the payment of the dividend, Apple looks set to maintain its cash mountain at $100bn as new products such as the iPad continue to sell so well, which explains why the board has decided to pay a shareholder dividend now.

Harry Dalton

The GuardianTramp

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