Apple execs loom large in US high-earner report

If you want to be the highest-paid tech exec on the block, you should probably head over to 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California.

Four of the five highest-paid employees at Standard & Poor's 500 companies last year were senior executives at Apple, according to Bloomberg, which examined fiscal 2012 compensation figures filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

As competition heats up with heavyweights Google and Samsung, Apple continues to throw fat stacks at employees in hopes of keeping its team intact, according to Bloomberg. Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling told the news service that Apple wants to "be sure the actual talents that they bring to the company are retained, and also from a perception standpoint to retain confidence in the leadership."

The 2012 report marks the second consecutive year in which Apple execs nabbed the highest payouts in the country.

The Cupertino-based firm's lucky four includes Bob Mansfield, Bruce Sewell, Jeffrey Williams, and Peter Oppenheimer, all of whom earned a base salary of $805,400 (£526,200), before receiving 150,000 restricted stock units in late-2011.

At the top of the heap sits 52-year-old Mansfield (pictured, top), Apple's senior vice president of technologies, who earned a total $85.5 million (£55.5m), mostly in stock, and the second-place spot among the S&P 500. Mansfield planned to retire last summer, but was persuaded to stay with the company, where he has led the hardware engineering group. Team members reportedly complained about Mansfield's replacement, Dan Riccio, according to Bloomberg.

As Apple's head lawyer, Sewell, 54, earned his $69 million (£45m) last year working patent infringement cases, including the $1.05 billion win over Samsung. Meanwhile, 49-year-old Williams, the senior vice president of operations who took over Apple's supply chain, as well as its somewhat troubled relationship with Foxconn and other manufacturing partners, went home with $68.7 million (£44.9m) last year.

Finally, 50-year-old Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer received $68.6 million (£44.8m) in compensation in 2012, landing him in fifth place among 2,050 executives at 410 companies.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

All four earned more than chief executive Tim Cook, who earned "only" $4.2 million (£2.7m) last year — the low point for his roller coaster of a salary over the last three years. Just before taking over for Steve Jobs, Cook was paid a whopping $378 million (£247m) - again including stock options - compared to $59.1 million (£38.6m) in 2010, when he last served as Apple's COO for an entire year.

All four Apple execs trailed Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, who came in at number with a $96.2 million (£62.8m) base salary last year.

Bloomberg's data not include information about those whose total compensation was not disclosed in annual proxy filings, like Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller or head of Internet services Eddy Cue.

Rounding out the top 10, according to Bloomberg, are Oracle co-presidents Mark Hurd and Safra Catz — with about $51.7 million (£33.7m) each, CBS CEO Les Moonves, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, and Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chairman Ray Irani.