Apple's money guy is king of the hill

After a long cold winter of slumping share prices and weakened profits, Apple has some good news to celebrate this week. For starters, its stock price has climbed steadily from under $400 a share to a closing price Wednesday of $463.84. And then a Bloomberg News report revealed that Apple’s chief  financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, claimed the top spot for 2012 as highest paid among his corporate numbers-crunching, tax-finagling colleagues.

How much is “top spot” worth? Bloomberg said Oppenheimer earned a $68.6 million package. CEO Tim Cook’s $4.17-million pales by comparison. Hopefully that won’t lead to any awkwardness on their next quarterly-earnings conference call with analysts, which the two men co-host.

Runners-up include Oracle’s financial chief, Safra Catz, who was paid $51.7 million and Google’s Patrick Pichette, who came in third with just $38.7 million.

With “just,” of course, being relative.

As the New York Times’ Brian X. Chen pointed out in a blog post, Oppenheimer was just doing what any self-respecting “tax ninja” would do:

Of course, all corporations do their best to minimize taxes. Apple’s Mr. Oppenheimer has done an exceptional job managing the company’s cash, finding legal ways to side step billions of dollars in taxes, allocating about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower.

Patrick May Patrick May (304 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.