Image: Steve Jobs
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Since returning in 1997 to the helm of the company he co-founded and catapulting Apple to record profits, legendary Silicon Valley executive Steve Jobs has opted to get only a token paycheck.
updated 4/16/2007 9:24:20 PM ET 2007-04-17T01:24:20

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs received a salary of $1 last year, according to documents filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Since returning in 1997 to the helm of the company he co-founded and catapulting Apple to record profits, the legendary Silicon Valley executive has opted to get only a token paycheck.

But as of March 20, Jobs, 52, still owns more than 5.4 million in restricted shares, worth about $496 million at Monday’s closing stock price.

The award is part of what’s left of 10 million in split-adjusted restricted shares the company gave Jobs in March 2003. When the shares fully vested in March 2006, Apple withheld more than 4.5 million of the shares worth about $296 million to cover Jobs’ tax obligations.

For the fiscal year that ended in September, Jobs was reimbursed $202,000 for expenses related to the business use of his private plane, the regulatory filing said. The jet was an executive perk Jobs received back in 2001.

He also still holds 120,000 stock options granted to him as a director of the Cupertino-based company.

Shares of Apple have soared in the past year as the Macintosh maker not only grew its computer sales but also tapped a rich vein of revenue with its iPod portable music players. Its market capitalization has grown to more than $78 billion, and industry analysts expect Apple’s fortunes will only swell with the iPhone, a smart phone-iPod combination scheduled to go on sale in June.

Apple shares closed Monday at $91.43, up $1.19 from Friday’s close, and up more than 80 percent from its 52-week low of $50.16.

Jobs’ total compensation for the fiscal year was not explicitly disclosed in the regulatory filing, as the company used older guidelines that were still applicable for its latest fiscal year. Under new rules this year, companies are required to provide more detail, such as stating the total value of option awards that vested during the fiscal year.

Jobs, who is also the former CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, had held more than 50 percent of that company’s stock and became The Walt Disney Co.’s single largest shareholder after Disney acquired Pixar last year.

Forbes magazine recently ranked Jobs as the world’s 132nd richest man, pegging his net worth at $5.7 billion.

Both Apple and Pixar are under federal scrutiny over stock options accounting. Though both companies’ internal probes cleared Jobs of any wrongdoing in the backdating of thousands of options, federal authorities are continuing their investigations.

Apple and dozens of other companies have been accused of backdating their options, or pegging a grant date to an earlier time when share prices were lower to help boost a future payout.

The practice is not illegal, but if it’s not accounted for properly, it can result in underpaid taxes and overstated income. Apple said in December that its mishandling of options issued between 1997 and 2001 resulted in an additional charge of $84 million and caused earnings for fiscal years 2004 through 2006 to be lowered by a total of about $21 million.

In light of the scandal, some Apple shareholders have asked the Macintosh and iPod maker to adopt a new way of issuing stock options for executives, according to the proxy statement the company filed Monday.

To avoid the chances of tying stock options to advantageous grant dates, the company should issue them on pre-established dates that are disclosed in advance, according to the proposal.

Apple’s board of directors unanimously opposes the proposal, the filing said, and contends it doesn’t apply to the company’s existing equity-compensation practices, which have been modified to comply with stricter federal standards.

Apple also said the company has not issued stock options to senior executives since 2003, relying instead on restricted stock grants for compensation. If Apple did choose to offer stock options in the future, using preselected grant dates could unintentionally remove or reduce the incentive for executives to increase shareholder value in the short term, Apple stated.

Few, if any, other corporations use such a proposed options procedure, and it could hurt Apple’s flexibility to hire or retain executives, the company said.

The proposed measure is scheduled to be voted on at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting May 10. Five other shareholder proposals and five company-backed items, including the election of directors, also are on the agenda.

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