Apple CEO Tim Cook leads the audience in a moment of silence in tribute to the victims of the Orlando terrorist event at an Apple event at the Worldwide Developer's Conference on June 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
Andrew Burton—Getty Images
By Don Reisinger
January 6, 2017

Tim Cook could’ve been richer in 2016—if only Apple would have performed as well as it should have.

The Apple CEO took home $8.7 million in compensation in 2016, a fine sum for most, but just below what he could’ve made had Apple generated more revenue and operating profit in 2016, the company revealed in a regulatory filing on Friday. Cook made $10.3 million in 2015. Other Apple executives, including senior vice presidents Angela Ahrendts and Eddy Cue, also saw their compensation fall by millions in 2016.

Apple (AAPL) uses performance-based compensation for its executives based on board-approved milestones for revenue and operating income. Each year, the board approves values to different thresholds and offers compensation awards based on where Apple’s revenue and operating income fall on that continuum. In 2016, Apple’s $215.6 billion in revenue was below the board’s revenue target of $223.6 billion. The board also hoped Apple’s operating income would reach $60.3 billion, but it actually came in at $60 billion. Apple’s failure to reach those targets triggered lower compensation for its executives.

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“This performance resulted in a combined payout at 89.5% of target for each named executive officer,” the company said in its regulatory filing.

For the last four years before 2016, Apple offered its executives maximum payouts as revenue and profits continued to soar to record-breaking levels. However, in 2016, Apple suffered its first year-over-year annual revenue decline in years as interest in the company’s iPads continue to wane and demand started to cool a bit for its iPhone. Apple executives, including Cook, have said that the company is healthy and will see strong growth in 2017, but its down year in 2016 has prompted some analysts to question whether Apple needs something big in the coming years to address apparent softness in its business.

That something big might come in 2017. Apple is reportedly ramping up a major improvement to its iPhone that some analysts say, could create a “supercycle” for the handset and send sales soaring. Apple is also reportedly planning improvements to its iPad, Apple Watch, and Macs, suggesting 2017 could be a big year for the company’s hardware efforts.

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Meanwhile, rumors continue to say that Apple is working on car technology and could be considering increasing its investment in other markets, like health care and the smart home.

While Cook didn’t lead Apple to record-breaking levels in 2016 and suffered a pay cut last year, he’s still doing well. In August, he was awarded nearly 1.3 million Apple shares for the company’s stock performance and for serving five years as its chief executive. Those shares are now worth more than $140 million. He also has hundreds of millions of dollars in restricted Apple stock that will be available to him in the coming years.

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