Apple clings to top staff with stock sweetener

Apple is dishing out large financial incentives to top employees to fend off the chance of a staff exodus.

There are some concerns that senior executives may move on following Steve Jobs’ passing. To keep them sweet, Apple will be handing out 150,000 restricted stock units to each senior staffer, with half of each grant in 2013 and the other half in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The stock unit giveaway amounts to around $60 million each over the next five years. Apple hopes that will stop anyone jumping ship while CEO Tim Cook begins his reign. 

Executives awarded the grant include CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and vice presidents Phil Schiller, Bob Mansfield and Jeffrey Williams.

Tim Cook is said to have already received a nice bonus since taking the top job, with one million shares handed to him on his recent promotion.

Apple stated that the incentives to senior staff were rewarding their hard work “down the road”, and ensuring that the company retained its innovative approach.

TechEye spoke to business strategy consultants AMR International, and were told that it is unusual to hand financial incentives to staff as a direct result of a CEO loss, but considering the high level departure there may be some concern about staff departures.

“The move is a bit reactive and there is obviously concern, as it is rare that a CEO has such a high profile as Jobs did,” AMR International COO Jim Easton told us.

“Given Steve Jobs was such a charismatic leader they might well be worried about staff leaving.  When you have a charismatic leader like that there is often strong loyalty from staff.  Of course given how iconic Apple is there is also a strong tie there too.”

It is an odd move, if the WSJ has it right, says Easton: “But for financial incentives to be tied so closely to the departure of a CEO is rare, and to think that it is directly related to the loss or departure of a CEO is not something that there are many examples of.”