CNN/Money Asks If Apple CEO Stock Grants Are "The Next Outrage"

CNN/Money has published a piece looking at Steve Jobsi newest stock compensation plan. The article takes a critical look at how Apple traded in many millions of underwater stock options for a smaller grant of 5 million restricted stock options. From the article:

Apple Computer has always prided itself on being a trend-setting company. Still, CEO Steve Jobs couldnit have been happy when recent headlines trumpeted his revised compensation package as the latest innovation in corporate gluttony.

The story begins in January 2000, when Appleis board granted Jobs options to buy 20 million Apple shares at a strike price of US$43.59. When the tech bubble popped, that contract became worthless. So in October 2001, Jobs was granted another 7.5 million options, exercisable at $18.30.

Today, Apple shares are trading near $13 -- about their level of five years ago -- and in March, Jobs "voluntarily cancelled" the contract. He didnit walk away empty-handed, though. He exchanged the options for five million shares in restricted stock. Upon vesting over three years, heill own them free-and-clear, regardless of Appleis stock price.


To illustrate the benefits to a CEO receiving such shares, letis pick on Appleis Jobs again. At todayis prices, his five million free shares would be worth about $67 million when they vest. If Apple stock rises to $20 -- a 50 percent increase -- heid make another $33 million.

Compare that to his earlier, now-cancelled grant of 7.5 million options. Under that contractis $18.30 strike price, the same gain in share value would earn Jobs just $12.7 million.

Thereis much more in the full article, including a look at the broader issues of CEO compensation.