Undercover zillionaires

Sure, corporate chiefs' pay often is eye-poppingly high. But at some companies, executives lower down the ladder quietly out-earned their CEO bosses in 2010.

1. Tim Cook, $59.1 million
Tim Cook, $59.1 million
Former Apple COO, now-CEO, Tim Cook
Title: Formerly COO; now CEO
Company: Apple (AAPL)
CEO: Steve Jobs
Pay difference: $59.1 million

From 1997 until his death, Steve Jobs took home just $1 a year in salary, and most years he collected no bonus. Tim Cook, Jobs' number two, scored a richer deal.

On top of an $800,000 salary and $900,000 bonus for 2010, Cook collected an additional $5 million bonus "in recognition of his outstanding performance" while stepping in for Jobs during the CEO's six-month medical leave in 2009. He also got $52 million worth of Apple stock as a thank you, after receiving no stock compensation the year before.

Cook became Apple's permanent CEO in August, six weeks before Jobs' death. That same day, the board awarded Cook a restricted grant of 1 million Apple shares, valued at an eye-popping $400 million. But that rich reward comes with extra-tight golden handcuffs: Cook has to stick with Apple for five years to collect the first half of the payout and a full decade before he earns all of it. --S.C.

Source: Equilar, Inc.

Methodology: Total compensation is calculated as the sum of base salary, discretionary and performance-based cash bonuses, the grant-date fair value for stock and option awards during the fiscal year, and other compensation like earnings on deferred compensation, benefits and perks. Equilar, an executive compensation research firm, looked at CEOs at 1,000 of the largest public U.S. companies as measured by revenue. Pay data based on companies' fiscal year end of Dec. 2010, the latest data available, unless otherwise noted. Cash compensation and stock and options increases may not add up exactly to total compensation increases due to rounding.
By Stacy Cowley and James O'Toole @CNNMoney - Last updated January 06 2012: 5:23 PM ET
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