Apple Locks in New CEO Tim Cook Through 2021

ANALYSIS

  on August 29 2011 9:16 AM

Apple's board of directors has moved to lock in new CEO Tim Cook through mid-2021 by awarding him one million shares of company stock. Cook is replacing longtime co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, who announced his retirement last week.

In connection with Mr. Cook's appointment as Chief Executive Officer, the Board awarded Mr. Cook 1,000,000 restricted stock units, Apple said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Half of the one million restricted stock units will be awarded to Cook in August 2015 if he is still with Apple, while the second half will be given to the CEO in August 2021 if he is still employed by the company. Based upon the current price of Apple's stock, the shares are worth more than $380 million at today's value.

If Cook keeps pushing Apple forward as did Jobs, sending the stock price soaring, the shares could be worth far more into the future. Or, the shares could also be worth far less -- since Apple has been on a roll lately and the company's stock is trading at $388.92 per share, up from a 52-week low $240.35.

Typically, following a leader hailed as an all-time great who has boosted company share price dramatically before retirement as Jobs has is extremely difficult.

It's the leadership departure syndrome established by long-time successful Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi. When the coaching legend retired from the Packers, an able coach named Phil Bengston was installed to lead the team. But not only was Lombardi gone, the team had also peaked.

Bengston was let go after just a couple of years following what some termed as an unwinnable situation.

At GE, Jeff Immelt has survived nearly a decade after taking the company's chairman and CEO roles after the legendary Jack Welch retired but it hasn't been easy. He inherited a stock price trading at 34 times earnings just before the world was rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The stock price hasn't recovered yet.

Cook is no stranger to Apple's leadership role, considering he's filled in two times in the past two years when Jobs has taken medical leave for illness. Cook, 50, has been with Apple since 1998, and he is a director on the board of Nike, the shoe and apparel manufacturer.

But he's not Steve Jobs. Still, Apple needs a leader, and Cook has been given the charge and the company has now placed him on a restricted stock plan rewarding him for service through mid-2021, if he's still on the job.

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