Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, who surpassed Larry Ellison of Oracle (ORCL) in 2011 to become the highest-paid chief executive at a publicly traded Bay Area company, earned significantly less this year with take-home pay of about $4.2 million, according to a Thursday Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Cook's compensation for 2011, when he was appointed the Cupertino company's chief executive, was some $378 million, most of which came from 1 million shares of Apple stock that vests over 10 years. The value was calculated at Apple's share price at the time the award was granted.

The cash salary for Cook, 52, was about $1.4 million this year, up from $900,000 last year, but he received no additional stock awards in 2012.

Cook's dramatic decline in pay was not an accurate reflection of his performance. His huge stock award last year was, by all accounts, was a reward for previous performance and a strong endorsement of his leadership by Apple's board.

Apple typically gives its top executives stock awards every other year, observed Aaron Boyd, director of research at Equilar, an executive compensation research firm.

Among the Apple executives who received hefty compensation in 2012 was Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, who garnered about $68.6 million, up from $1.4 million in 2011. Oppenheimer, whose base salary was about $800,000, received about $66.2 million in stock awards.

Apple's Senior Vice President Robert Mansfield, who oversees the company's hardware division, was given $85.5 million in compensation this year, just about all of it from stock awards. Cook reportedly talked Mansfield, 52, out of retiring from the company this year.

Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell's 2012 compensation was about $69 million. Jeffrey Williams, the company's senior vice president of operations, received a pay package of about $68.7 million.

The base salaries of Oppenheimer, Mansfield, Sewell and Williams were increased to $800,000. Oppenheimer and Sewell last year had salaries of about $700,000 each. The filing did not list the 2011 base salary for Mansfield or Williams.

Shares of Apple closed up $2.06 to $515.06 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The is stock is up 26 percent for the year.

Contact John Boudreau at 408-278-3496; follow him at Twitter.com/svwriter.

Apple's Top Earners
Apple CEO Tim Cook, after receiving $378 million in compensation in 2011, garnered significantly less this year. Other executives received a big boost in 2012. Here are 2012 compensation of Apple's top executives.
CEO Tim Cook: $4.2 million
Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer: $68.6 million
Senior Vice President Robert Mansfield: $85.5 million
General Counsel Bruce Sewell: $69 million
Senior Vice President of Operations: Jeffrey Williams: $68.7 million
Source: Mercury News reporting