New Apple chief Tim Cook handed 1m shares
Tim Cook, the new Apple chief executive who replaced Steve Jobs, has been awarded 1m shares in the company in a bid to keep him at the helm until at least 2021.
The stock transfer, which is worth just over $383m ($263m) at current prices, was disclosed in a mandatory document filed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.
Half the shares will vest in Mr Cook on August 24, 2016, while the other half will vest on the same date in 2021, subject to his continued employment at Apple.
Mr Cook, the group's former chief operating officer, was appointed to replace Steve Jobs - who remains as chairman of the Apple board - after Mr Jobs' resignation earlier this week.
Mr Jobs retired due to continuing ill health, after serving as chief executive of Apple for 14 years.
The announcement of the share transfer will put an end to speculation that Mr Cook had been appointed as an interim figure, indicating that he is likely to stay with the company for at least 10 years.
The SEC document, called an 8-K form, was filed in order to inform investors of major changes taking place at the company.
It says: "In connection with Mr Cook's appointment as Chief Executive Officer, the Board awarded Mr Cook 1,000,000 restricted stock units.
"Fifty percent of the restricted stock units are scheduled to vest on each of August 24, 2016 and August 24, 2021, subject to Mr Cook's continued employment with Apple through each such date."
The form also confirms Mr Jobs' resignation, his new position as chairman of the Apple board, and the appointment of Mr Cook to fill an "existing vacancy" as chief executive officer.
The full value of the stock is not yet known, and Mr Cook will not have access to it until the first tranche of shares vest in him in five years' time. However, analysts forecast that the value of Apple's stock could hit $500 or more per share within the next year.
In the last ten years, Apple's stock has soared to more than 40 times its starting value. If this trend were to continue, Mr Cook's share could be worth more than $15bn by 2021.
In 2010, Mr Cook received $58m in salary, bonus and other stock awards in his position as chief operating officer.
Apple shares gained 2.64pc on Wall Street on Friday to close at $383.58.