Tim Cook Is Highest-Paid CEO in the History of Highest-Paid CEOs

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The next time you're out to dinner with Tim Cook and all of his iFriends, you shouldn't bat an eye if he offers to pick up the tab for your meal. He can afford it. Many times over, in fact.

According to the survey of annual CEO earnings done by the Wall Street Journal, Cook's $376.2 million puts the Apple CEO at the top of the list of highest-paid CEOs in 2011. More, Cook's compensation from last year is also the highest ever recorded by Journal since they started keeping up with these sorts of details.

Cook's ridiculous level of wealth is built almost entirely on the million shares of restricted Apple stock Cook he has claim on. Cook isn't allowed to sell off any of his stock until 2016 when he will be permitted to sell as much as half his shares, and then he won't be able to sell the other half until 2021.

Do not feel bad for Mr. Cook because he is stuck with all that old Apple stock. While he might have tons of money now, having to hold onto those shares for several more years might be the best possible outcome for the CEO. These days, the price of Apple shares hovers around the $560 mark, but some speculators are shooting for the moon with the next iPhone. Some analysts think that the launch of the iPhone 5 might be enough to catapult Apple's stock above $1,001 per share.

So yeah. If that's even a microcosmic possibility of happening, "forcing" Tim Cook to hold onto the stock is the best thing to ever be forced onto anyone. More, if Apple shares do hulk out above $1,000 while Cook has a million shares of Apple, he should be politely asked to move on to another planet because he will officially be too wealthy to actually be considered One of Us anymore.

Or, he could at least buy everybody some Spicy Chili Cheese Nachos the next time we bump into him at Applebee's. He could stick around then.

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