Life’s alright if you’re Angela Ahrendts. Poached by Apple from Burberry in October 2013, she was paid an eye watering $73.4m (£48.4m) in 2014, $70m of which was stock awards, in part to make up for those she lost leaving the luxury fashion house. That’s even more than WPP chief exec Sir Martin Sorrell, whose £43m pay was by far the highest in the FTSE 100.
But wait - there’s more. Apple’s shares have risen almost 49% since Ahrendts joined just over a year ago. That means her total pay from 2014 is now worth a tasty $82.6m, according to Bloomberg. It also said her entire package since joining, including sign-on bonuses and the like, is a staggering $105.5m (without specifying how that’s different to last year’s pay).
Ahrendts was already by far the best-paid Apple exec last year – her package was originally eight times the size of CEO Tim Cook’s.
And she also takes the top spot in the women’s pay stakes, pipping Oracle chief financial officer Safra Catz’s $71m and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s $59.1m to the post. Google's new CFO Ruth Porat will also join those ranks this year, with a $70m package over two years. EasyJet boss Carolyn McCall’s £7.7m looks Lilliputian in comparison.
Ahrendts still doesn’t match the $141.9m paid to the boss of Cheniere Energy (a company 20 times smaller than Exxon Mobil) in 2013, or the $131.2m paid to the McKesson Pharmaceuticals chief exec in 2011. But it is heartening to see a woman taking a place close to the head of the executive pay table.
On the other hand, it is a reminder of just how stratospherically out of touch that table is with ordinary workers (although the lingering ideal of the American Dream means it’s a darn sight less controversial than over here). But at least Apple’s execs are value for money - at least relatively, given the somewhat dubious link between pay and performance.
According to Bloomberg, the top five were paid a total of $281m, equivalent to 1% of the consumer electronics giant’s ‘economic profit’ (pre-tax profit was $52.5bn in 2014). Of the 100 highest paid execs in the US, 94 are individually paid a higher percentage of their companies’ profits than Apple’s group get altogether. With the iPhone 6 continuing to eat up China, expect more mouthwatering pay packages in the year to come.