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Four of the Highest-Paid Executives in the US are Apple Lieutenants

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Four of the five highest-paid employees at S&P 500 companies are Apple employees: Bob Mansfield, Bruce Sewell, Jeffrey Williams and Peter Oppenheimer, according to data filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, after roughly 80% of the 500 companies submitted their numbers by April 12.

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Mansfield’s compensation package — including base salary, bonus, equity and other benefits for the 2012 fiscal year — ranked the second-largest in the S&P 500 at $85.5 million, received almost entirely in stock. His base salary, though, is “only” $805,400, matching that of Oppenheimer, Sewell and Williams.

Sewell, Apple’s lead lawyer, received a payment package worth $69 million, which ranks him on third spot on the S&P list, while Williams, senior vice president of operations, grabbed fourth place with a $68.7 million package.

“It’s a retention strategy to keep the key executives who were present in the Steve Jobs era,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst at San Francisco-based Opus Research. “They want 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.”

You may recall that Mansfield had plans for retirement last June, but it was rumoured that Tim Cook has made a very attractive offer to him to change course. As the above numbers show, Mansfield indeed received an impressive package, which likely contributed to keeping the team that transformed the iPhone maker into the most valuable technology company under Steve Jobs.

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