It pays to help run the richest company in the world.
Forstall is said to be a possible successor to Tim Cook as Apple's CEO, according to Fortune, and his decision to sell Apple stock is not quite a signal that he plans to leave. He has received two retention bonuses made of stock that will be sellable in a few years if he stays with the company. If Apple's stock price continues to rise, they could be worth at least $250 million if Forstall stays, according to Fortune.
Apple's stock has skyrocketed in recent years and was at $584.37 on Wednesday afternoon from $235.86 around the same period in 2010. Indeed, Apple's good fortune has lifted the stock market along with it. Apple alone comprises more than 4 percent of the value of the S&P 500, according to analysis by Brown Brothers Harriman cited by the Wall Street Journal.
The stock has launched CEO Tim Cook's worth into the stratosphere. Though Cook is paid $900,000 for his annual cash salary, he was given Apple stock that then was worth $376.2 million, according to The New York Times. Now, thanks to Apple's rising stock price, it has increased two-thirds as of early April to $634 million.
There has been a recent outcry against high executive pay. Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and Citigroup's board of directors were recently sued for the outsized pay awarded to senior executives. Citigroup's shareholders also voted against Pandit's $15 million pay package, though it only was an advisory vote.
Of course, getting paid in company stock doesn't always work out--particularly for rank-and-file employees. Remember Enron? 62 percent of Enron's retirement funds, worth $1.3 billion, were invested in company stock in 2001, according to CNN. Hundreds of Enron employees lost both their jobs and their retirement savings as the company spectacularly imploded. Roger Boyce, one Enron employee, had retirement savings that had been worth $2 million but plunged to under $10,000, according to ABC News.