Apple CEO takes ‘pay cut’
Apple Inc chief executive officer Tim Cook’s compensation package for this year of US$4.17 million is, on paper, a huge cut for the top executive of the most valuable US corporation, after a package last year fattened by more than US$376 million in long-term stock awards. Cook received the largest single pay package awarded to a company chief executive in about a decade when he replaced Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in August last year. The maker of the iPhone and iPad made the compensation disclosures in a regulatory filing on Thursday. Cook, 52, has been with Apple since 1998. Virtually all of Cook’s US$376 million stock bonus last year was in awards that vest in two chunks — one in 2016 and the other in 2021. This structure was intended to keep Jobs’ longtime lieutenant at the helm for many years, as the value of the stock will depend on how well the company is doing in 2016 and 2021.
Small firms boost planned
Authorities have approved local government financing vehicles in five cities to sell a combined 15 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) of bonds in a pilot program to raise funds for small businesses, two people familiar with the matter said. The National Development and Reform Commission has picked the cities of Tianjin, Guangzhou, Wuxi, Zhenjiang and Yancheng for the trial, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The proceeds will be lent to small local businesses through banks and will not be used to build infrastructure, they said. The country has sought to shore-up smaller companies over concern that slowing economic growth may lead to bankruptcies and job losses. Policymakers this year have called on state-owned banks to bolster lending to small and medium-sized business and allowed companies to raise funds from the debt market by selling bonds through private placements as economic growth fell to its weakest level since 2009.
Autonomy probe opened
The US Justice Department opened an investigation relating to Autonomy Corp after Hewlett-Packard Co accused the software company of misrepresenting its performance before being bought last year. Justice Department representatives informed the company on Nov. 21 of the probe, Hewlett-Packard said yesterday in its annual 10-K regulatory filing. The computer maker booked an US$8.8 billion writedown related to Autonomy last month after finding that some revenue had been recorded prematurely or improperly. Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch, who left Hewlett-Packard in May, struck a US$10.3 billion deal last year with Whitman’s predecessor, Leo Apotheker, to sell the company he co-founded.
US firms prepare for strike
Home Depot Inc and Lowe’s Cos have the most at stake among retailers facing a dockworkers’ strike, with possible port closures cutting off shipments right before the lucrative gardening season. Home Depot, the biggest US home improvement chain, is making plans in case 15,000 workers at ports from Maine to Texas walk out, and Lowe’s said that it is monitoring the talks. About 45 percent of the commerce that flows in an out of the US goes through east coast ports, according to the National Retail Federation. Retailers “would be hit far and wide from apparel to home goods to patio furniture to barbecues,” Jonathan Gold, the NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Washington.