Apple's Board Says Tim Cook Has to Fly Private From Now on 'in the Interests of Security and Efficiency'
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Apple's board of directors is now making CEO Tim Cook fly on private aircraft when he travels, whether for work or for pleasure.
"This policy was implemented in 2017 in the interests of security and efficiency based on our global profile and the highly visible nature of Mr. Cook's role as CEO," Apple said in a shareholder proxy statement released Wednesday afternoon.
The proxy statement goes on to say that any time Cook uses an Apple private jet for personal travel, the costs are considered extra compensation, on which he will have to pay taxes.
To that end, Apple says Cook racked up $93,109 in personal travel costs for the company this year "based on hourly flight charges and other variable costs incurred by Apple for such use, including variable fuel charges, departure fees, and landing fees."
Similarly, Apple paid $224,216 in "incremental" private-security costs for Cook, the statement says, including hiring personnel specifically for his benefit. All told, Cook made $12,825,066 at Apple in 2017 -- including a $16,200 contribution to his 401(k) retirement account from the company.
And if you were wondering, other Apple execs get to use the private jets, too, if required. But if they bring a spouse or other family members, Apple says, they have to pay toward those same "incremental costs."
Private air travel is fabulously expensive, to the point where even the richest businesspeople on Earth don't always bother. Warren Buffett famously named his private jet The Indefensible after giving in to the allure of the convenience and luxury.
But, hey, if Apple says Cook has to do it, there's not much he can do about it.
On a historical note, Cook's predecessor Steve Jobs actually had a private jet all his own: Apple gifted it to him in 2000, a few years after he came back to the company in 1996, as a thank-you present for turning around the company. Apple actually reimbursed Jobs for any time he had to take the jet out for business purposes.
After Jobs' death, Apple's design chief, Jony Ive, purchased that jet, with Ive said to have quipped "at least I don't have to redesign anything."