Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook took in almost $1 million of cash compensation in 2011 but also received a million restricted shares that, when they vest in 2016 and 2021, could net the head of the world's largest consumer electronics firm hundreds of millions of dollars.

The company's board granted Cook the million restricted stock units (RSUs) to signal their confidence in Cook after Steve Jobs handed the helm of the iPhone- and iPad-maker to his longtime lieutenant in August.

Based on an Aug. 24, 2011, closing price, that stock award - half of which vests in 2016 and the remainder in 2021 - was worth more than $376 million, the company said in a Monday proxy filing.

Cook received about $900,000 in salary, still far outstripping Jobs' nominal $1 a year. Jobs, who died in October after a years-long battle with cancer, owned 5.5 million shares of Apple, according to the statement.

Apple said Cook's award was a retention and promotion tool, as well as recognition for running the company during Jobs' previous medical leaves of absence.

The board views his retention as CEO as critical to the company's success and smooth leadership transition. The RSU award is intended as a long-term retention incentive, Apple said in its statement.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Richard Chang)