Tim Cook's bonus pay is cut as Apple misses sales targets

CEO sees payout reduced by 15% as sales and revenue targets slip, although he still netted $135m in shares in 2016

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, had his annual payout reduced last year after the company failed to reach its 2016 targets.

According to Apple’s SEC filings, the company’s annual sales missed its target of $223.6bn (£181.6bn) by 3.7%, reaching only $215.6bn, while operating income came up 0.5% short at $60bn. As a result, Cook received a total payout of $8.75m in 2016, including salary and bonuses, which was down 15% from $10.3m in 2015 and also down on 2014’s $9.2m.

Other Apple executives also had their pay decreased, although only by an average of 9.6%. The senior vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts, was Apple’s top named executive earner, paid $22.9m for 2016.

Apple said in its filing: “Our 2016 performance with respect to net sales and operating income was 7.7% and 15.7% below our record-breaking 2015 levels; however, the 2016 payouts to our named executive officers were significantly less than the annual cash incentive payouts for 2015, reflecting strong pay-for-performance alignment.”

Cook’s recorded compensation does not account for the 1.26m in Apple shares he was awarded this year, the majority of which were the result of him remaining chief executive for five years, which totalled to a value of $135m in August at the time of disclosure.

Apple, like most smartphone retailers, has been faced with increasing competition and slowed growth as many mature markets have reached 80% or higher smartphone penetration. The iPhone made up 63% of the company’s annual revenue, which sold in excess of 45m units in the last quarter of 2016, but was down year on year.

As smartphone innovation has appeared to stagnate, and devices have lasted longer, companies including Apple have struggled convince existing smartphone buyers to upgrade. At the same time, the number of buyers seeking their first smartphone has shrunk in Apple’s primary markets of the US and Europe.

Launching into markets such as China has helped Apple secure new customer bases, but it, as well as arch rival Samsung, have come under pressure from Chinese rivals. Both were down on market share according to data from Gartner in 2016, with third-quarter market share down 2.5% year on year for Apple and 4.4% for Samsung as China’s Huawei, Oppo and others all rose.


Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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