Big Payday for Apple CEO

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook this week reaped the biggest chunk so far of the mega-stock grant he received when was named CEO in 2011.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday, Mr. Cook said he had received 1.26 million shares of Apple stock, valued around $135 million, that previously were restricted. He now has hit the halfway point of a stock-compensation plan that could see him awarded seven million shares by 2021.

Mr. Cook earned the bulk of the shares -- 980,000 -- by remaining CEO for five years. He earned the additional 280,000 shares because Apple stock outperformed more than two-thirds of the companies in the S&P 500-stock index over the past three years.

According to the filing, Mr. Cook sold $36 million worth of this stock, and forfeited another $71 million to cover taxes. He is holding the remaining shares.

The bulk of Mr. Cook's compensation comes from this plan. In the fiscal year ended September 2015, he was paid $10 million in salary and bonus, but received no additional grants of stock or stock options.

When he took over as Apple's chief executive in 2011, Mr. Cook was given one million restricted stock units -- now equal to seven million, following Apple's 2014 7-for-1 stock split. Under the initial grant, half of those shares were to vest this year.

In 2013, Apple amended the plan, allowing some restricted shares to vest more quickly, but tying about one-third of the shares to the performance of Apple's shares.

Mr. Cook has hit his performance goals, but Apple has stumbled lately. Its shares are down almost 20% since their all-time high in May 2015, amid slowing demand for its smartphones and tablets. In July, the company reported a 27% drop in quarterly profits as iPhone sales slumped. The company is expected to introduce new iPhone designs next month.

Write to Robert McMillan at