How Much Does Apple Pay Jony Ive?

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 2
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Apple Senior Vice President of Design Jonathan Ive speaks onstage during "Genius by Design" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 9, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)
Photograph by Michael Kovac — Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Judging by the headlines it generated, the biggest news in the proxy statement Apple filed with the Securities Exchange Commission Wednesday was the $25 million compensation package awarded five Apple executives in fiscal 2015: Luca Maestri (chief financial officer), Angela Ahrendts (retail), Eddy Cue (digital content), Don Riccio (hardware), and Bruce Sewell (legal).

They each got a $1 million salary, $4 million in cash bonuses and $20 million in restricted stock units (RSUs).

CEO Tim Cook was the odd man out in this year’s proxy, but only because he’s on a different, more generous bonus schedule. (See Tim Cook Is Not Apple’s Highest-Paid Executive.)

Missing from yesterday’s proxy were several prominent members of Apple’s executive team, chief among them Phil Schiller (marketing), Craig Federighi (software), Jeff Williams (operations), and—most prominently—Jony Ive (design).

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Apple has confirmed that Schiller, Federighi and Williams got essentially the same package as their peers. They weren’t listed in the proxy because the SEC only requires disclosure from five individuals: The CEO, CFO and the three other most highly compensated executive officers. (Apple listed an extra one because Riccio’s and Sewell’s packages were identical.)

Jony Ive’s compensation, on the other hand, is a deeply held secret.

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The salary of the man who has designed every Apple product from the iMac to the Apple Watch has never been disclosed to the SEC or the press. The last time he filed an SEC Form 4—required whenever there’s a material change in an insider’s position—was July 2009.

According to Apple, Ive is exempt from SEC rules because he’s not what the commission calls a “Section 16” employee. Despite his title—chief design officer—the company does not classify him as a director or officer of the company.

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The only hint I could find about how much Ive might be making comes from Leander Kahney’s 2013 biography Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products. Summarizing a couple of British newspaper stories published in early 2011, after Ive had reportedly threatened to quit, Kahney writes:

“To cement his connection with Apple, the company reportedly paid Jony a $30 million bonus and offered him shares worth a further $25 million. At the time, Jony’s personal fortune was estimated at $130 million.”

Apple (AAPL), unsurprisingly, declined to comment on that.

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