A report earlier this week from Businessweek claimed Apple has four of the five highest top paid employees among Standard & Poor’s 500 companies. The figures cited in this report included both base salary and vested stock packages, which has some people, like Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Apple 2.0, crying foul.
DeWitt open his acrid retort to the Businessweek article by asking whether “Bloomberg’s brainiacs know the difference between an RSU and a pay check?” DeWitt points out that the compensation packages for Apple’s top brass may have increased, but their pay has remained steady. These compensation packages include restricted stock units (RSU) that are not immediately available for the Apple executives and should not be counted as part of their pay.
These RSUs are part of a retention package that becomes available after an employee works a set number of years. If the employee leaves before the RSUs have vested, then he or she loses that money. It’s a common method used by companies to entice their employees to stay put for a while.