- Apple may have spent less on lobbying than its Silicon Valley peers, but the costs of doing business amid a raging trade war with China seem to be partly reflected in the company boss’s executive compensation.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook’s security and air travel costs surged more than double in 2019, according to the company’s latest proxy statement.
- This may be due to Cook’s many visits to Washington this year: the famously-diplomatic company CEO is said to have forged close ties with President Donald Trump and his family, in a bid to dodge the punishing tariffs that the administration has placed on products manufactured in China, Apple’s manufacturing hub.
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Apple may have spent less on lobbying than tech industry peers like Google and Facebook, but the costs of doing business amid a raging trade war with China are still apparent in the company head’s executive compensation.
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s salary has remained relatively flat over the past three years, according to the company’s latest proxy statement. But compensation for his security and air travel expenses have surged explosively over the past year.
Air travel costs climbed 239% in value over the past year, costing the company $315,311. And costs for Cook’s private security also rose 104% to $457,083.
The surge in costs incurred to Apple may partly be due to Cook’s private attempts to advocate for the company in Washington DC. As of this summer, Apple’s CEO has met with President Donald Trump at least five times in a bid to hold the president’s ear amid a raging trade war with China.
Trump’s 18-month trade war with China stems from a 2016 campaign promise to revitalize the manufacturing sector in the US by making companies like Apple start “building their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries.” Over the past 18 months, escalating tariffs imposed on Chinese-manufactured goods have threatened Apple’s most lucrative products, like the iPhone and Apple Watch.
But Cook, dialing up a charm offensive, has forged close ties with both President Trump and his family amid the trade war, the Wall Street Journal’s Tripp Mickle reported in October. The president has previously said Cook is the only tech executive to have a direct line to the White House, allowing him to convey his own point of view in often-tense situations.
Cook and Trump both toured Apple’s Austin plant in November. Apple announced plans to build a new billion-dollar campus in Austin, while the president said he would look into whether the tech giant should be exempt from tariffs on Chinese imports.
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