One Million Free Shares for new Apple CEO

Time and again commentators, academics, politicians and fund managers repeat the same mantra: 'We do not mind how much (chief) executives get paid as long as it is for performance'. This cop-out will be tested to its limit by the announcement that Apple has 'awarded' the newly-appointed successor of Steven Jobs the round number of one million shares, currently valued at just under US$ 400 (!!) million. The doubts we always have when hearing that pay for performance is OK is the problem that it somehow implies that there is no upper limit to pay at all. Following this argument the Apple board might as well award 2 or 3 million shares to the chief executive - as long as it is for 'performance'. As usual, the myth of the superhero CEO reigns supreme, the effort of tens of thousand of other company employees are belittled by this form of corporate governance. Even more galling than the fact of this over sized 'award' is the lack of any performance criteria apart from the requirement that the new CEO sits out a period of five and ten years at the helm of Apple in order to be able to claim full ownership of the shares.