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Apple’s Cook Reaped $145 Million Last Year, Most of S&P 500 CEOs

Don’t be fooled by Tim Cook’s 2016 reported pay of $8.75 million, which ranked the Apple Inc. chief executive officer in the bottom third of all CEOs in the S&P 500. Cook, 56, actually took home $145 million, almost all of it from awards granted back in 2011.

He’s not the only chief executive officer of a publicly traded U.S. company to cross the $100 million threshold for take-home pay, commonly referred to as realized pay. Reed Hastings, 56, of Netflix Inc., reaped $106 million last year.

Take-home pay for the top 25 S&P 500 CEOs who served in their positions for the last full fiscal year totaled about $1.65 billion. Bosses in the technology, health care and media industries dominated the list.

Take-home pay is the sum of the values of stock vested and options exercised during the fiscal year, along with cash from salaries, bonuses and perks. Companies typically grant equity to executives as incentives each year. Those awards are reported at their target values in the summary compensation tables of annual proxy statements.

But CEOs don’t necessarily take ownership of those...