Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to vote against Apple management’s pay plan By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc. logo is seen in the lobby of New York City’s flagship Apple store January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) -Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, will vote against ratification of tech giant Apple Inc (NASDAQ:)’s management remuneration plan after an advisory firm urged investors to act, the fund’s manager said on Sunday.

The Norwegian fund owns 1.03% of Apple’s shares, making it the company’s eighth largest shareholder, according to Refinitiv data.

The maker of iPhones, computers and other devices is due to hold its annual meeting of shareholders on March 4.

Chief Executive Tim Cook’s pay in 2021 was 1,447 times that of the average Apple employee, a company filing on Jan. 7 showed, fuelled by stock awards that helped him earn a total of $98.7 million.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) last week urged investors to vote against Cook’s remuneration, citing concerns around the magnitude and structure of his equity award, which amounted to some $82.3 million.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which operates the Norwegian wealth fund, said in a statement it would follow the advice.

“A substantial proportion of annual remuneration should be provided as shares that are locked in for five to ten years, regardless of resignation or retirement,” NBIM said.

“The board should provide transparency on total remuneration to avoid unacceptable outcomes. The board should ensure that all benefits have a clear business rationale.”

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