Apple's recently hired senior vice president and general counsel Donald J. Rosenberg received a generous stock option package for joining the firm.

A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filling reveals that Rosenberg — who replaces former incumbent, Nancy Heinen — has received 200,000 shares of the company's stock. That's approximately $18 million at today's market value.

However, the value of stock can fall, as well as rise, and the new legal chief won't be able to sell the stock for a while. According to notes accompanying the SEC filing, the "restricted stock units vest 25 per cent annually, beginning with the first anniversary from grant date."

Rosenberg is former senior vice president and general counsel of IBM. In his over 30 years there he has held numerous positions, including senior vice president and general counsel of the IBM Corporation, vice president and assistant general counsel for litigation, and counsel to IBM's mainframe division.

His focus on securities, intellectual property and competition issues has involved extensive interaction with the SEC, the US Department of Justice and the European Economic Commission.