Working at the highest echelons of the world's largest tech company sure has its perks.

Just last month, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook enjoyed a hefty payday upon the vesting of some restricted stock units, or RSUs. Based on Dec. 30 closing prices, the position was valued at $96.2 million, with the RSUs in question vesting by the end of March. Apple shares have rallied a monstrous 48% this quarter, bumping up that payday's value to roughly $142 million.

Keep in mind that's only part of Cook's RSU position. The largest of his numerous RSU grants over the years is the million RSUs he received upon becoming CEO, half of which vest in 2016, with the other half vesting in 2021. A handful of other execs also got juicy RSU awards in November, to make sure they stuck around after Steve Jobs' death.



RSUs Awarded (Nov. 4, 2011)

Scott Forstall Senior VP, iOS Software 150,000
Bob Mansfield Senior VP, Hardware Engineering 150,000
Peter Oppenheimer Senior VP, CFO 150,000
Phil Schiller Senior VP, Worldwide Marketing 150,000
Jeff Williams Senior VP, Operations 150,000
Bruce Sewell Senior VP, General Counsel 150,000
Eddy Cue Senior VP, Internet Software and Services 100,000

Source: SEC Form 4 filings.

Industrial-design exec Jony Ive's position lets him escape SEC disclosures, but anyone at the top of Apple clearly enjoys cushy equity compensation.

So when retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) landed Apple retail head Ron Johnson last summer (Apple has since replaced him with John Browett), Johnson knew he was giving up a pricey seat. He'd left Apple by the time of the November RSU awards, but J.C. Penney did try to make it up to Johnson with a special $53 million stock award to help compensate for all those Apple RSUs he was giving up.

At the time, the award covered less than two-thirds of what Johnson was sacrificing. With Apple's mean rally recently, that opportunity cost has jumped, and Reuters estimates that he's now lost out on about $120 million in RSU gains.

I wouldn't worry too much about Johnson, though. He already owns about 230,000 shares, so he's still enjoying Apple's run. Besides, Johnson isn't in it for the money (I doubt he's having trouble paying his mortgage) -- he's in it to be CEO.

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Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.