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Samsung’s Chief Tops Apple’s CEO

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As Apple and Samsung renew their worldwide and long-running legal embroilment, the three co-chief executives of the South Korean manufacturer will be comforted by the fact that they had earned much more than their counterparts in the Cupertino-California based company. The component division of Samsung is headed by Kwon Oh-hyun who took home a salary of about $6.4 million last year. This information was revealed by the company because new regulations have been enforced, which indicate that the salaries of top executives would have to be revealed by South Korean companies. The head of the mobile arm of Samsung, Shin Jong-kyun and Yoon Boo-Keun, the chief of consumer electronics also took paychecks that were near the mark of $6 million.

More than 70% of the pay of the three co-executives comprised of bonuses. Regardless, each package managed to beat the one paid to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who took a paycheck of $4.25 million. The companies are meeting in US District Court in San Jose, California in a recent patent battle. However, in 2011, Mr. Cook was awarded about $378 million in terms of deferred stock due to which the Samsung pay packets are way less. As far as chief executives of other major US companies are concerned, they were awarded an average salary of about $10.5 million.

According to the investors in Seoul, because of the strong performance of the company in the past few years, they aren’t very much concerned with the pay given to Samsung’s executives. However, the miserly dividend yield is in direct contrast with the healthy paychecks awarded to the executives of the company. This has become a huge source of shareholder unrest because the cash pile of the company keeps on expanding amidst the decline in profit growth. This is the first time that South Korean companies like Samsung have disclosed the salary paid to individual executives.

This change was made last year via the introduction of new laws and before that only the aggregate amount paid to board members was disclosed. However, it has been warned by corporate governance experts that there is a loophole in the new law due to which some of the top businessmen in the country are able to keep their salaries a secret. The new regulations state that only the income of registered directors has to be published, which means that the pay of senior officials of Samsung like its vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong still remains a secret. His father is not a registered director and does not receive a salary either, according to a spokesperson of the company.

In comparison, the chairman of other top companies in South Korea also disclosed their salaries for the first time. This included the name of prominent companies such as Hyundai Motor and also its sister companies Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Steel, which published the salaries that are paid to their respective chairmen. Another major South Korean firm LG Electronics also published the salary of its chief executive and vice chairman, Koo Bon-joo.

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