To determine its most recent ranking, As You Sow assessed compensation packages that were subject to voting in the year before June 30, 2022.
As You Sow identifies its ranking of 100 most overpaid CEOs through three rankings based on the S&P 500. The first assesses the financial performance of each company by comparing their CEO’s pay with their total shareholder return. The second dimension identifies companies with the highest percentage of institutional shareholders who voted against their CEO’s pay package. The third dimension gauges the ratio of CEO’s pay to that of an average employee’s. The report authors then combined the rankings to provide a summary ranking.
In Big Pharma, as well as in other verticals, high executive compensation can contribute to a negative perception of the industry. Much of the public views high CEO pay as evidence of corporate greed and a lack of concern for the public. Also contributing to that sentiment are worries that the costs of new drugs have been increasing over the past decade, as a recent BMJ analysis noted.
|CEO Name||Company||Salary (2021)||Times More than Avg. Employee Pay||As You Sow Rank|
|Ari Bousbib||IQVIA Holdings||$28.62 million||205||41|
|Alex Gorsky||Johnson & Johnson||$26.74 million||N/A||50|
|Michael Goettler||Viatris||$14.70 million||398||53|
|Richard A. Gonzalez||AbbVie||$23.91 million||160||89|
|Marc N. Casper||Thermo Fisher||$21.23 million||254||92|
|Michel Vounatsos||Biogen||$17.69 million||N/A||N/A|
IQVIA Holdings’ top exec made $2.8M in 2021
Ari Bousbib, CEO of the life sciences firm IQVIA earned $28.62 million two years ago, some 205 times more than the company’s average employee pay of $140,000. As You Sow pegged him in the 41st slot of its list of most overpaid CEOs. In 2022, his pay he earned roughly the same amount. A total of 29% of institutional shareholders also opposed his compensation level.
Bousbib has led the company since the merger of Quintiles and IMS Health in October 2016.
IQVIA offers a range of services to the pharma, biotech and healthcare industries. The multinational company offers healthcare data analytics, clinical trial services, real-world evidence research and consulting services to help their clients optimize their R&D and commercialize products and manage their businesses.
J&J’s last CEO made $26.7M
Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky, who served as executive chairman of the conglomerate in 2022 before retiring, earned $26.74 million in 2021. He ranked 50 in the As You Sow list of overpaid CEOs. Gorsky was the best-paid pharma exec in 2020, raking in $29.58 million. His compensation was 297 times more than that of an average employee.
Joaquin Duato took the reins of the company at the beginning of 2022.
Under Gorsky’s tenure, Johnson & Johnson announced its plans to spin off its consumer health business as a publicly traded company to sharpen its focus on its higher-margin pharma and medtech businesses.
Viatris leader earned $14.7M
Viatris CEO Michael Goettler earned $14.70 million in 2021, some 398 times more than the pay of an average worker at the company. As You Sow also noted that 79% of institutional shareholders opposed Goettler’s compensation level. Goettler’s compensation in 2021 was 398 more than that of an average employee’s. He was ranked 53rd in As You Sou’s report of overpaid CEOs.
Viatris was formed after the merger of Mylan and Upjohn.
AbbVie CEO raked in $23.9M
In 2021, the top executive of AbbVie, Richard A. Gonzalez, earned $23.91 million — 160 times more than an average worker at the company. Gonzalez has been the CEO of AbbVie since 2013 when it separated from Abbott Laboratories. Gonzalez is one of the most experienced pharma CEOs and also served as executive vice president at Abbott Laboratories before the creation of AbbVie.
Gonzalez was ranked 89th in As You Sow’s report.
Thermo Fisher’s top exec earned $21.2M
Marc N. Casper, the CEO of Thermo Fisher earned $21.23 million, 254 times more than an average employee at the scientific research company. Casper has been the CEO of the company since October 2009. Casper’s pay hit new levels in 2021 when the company’s revenue surged in the early phase of the pandemic. In 2022, however, it struggled to maintain the momentum. Casper was the 92nd most overpaid CEO in As You Sow’s report.
Biogen’s former CEO earned $17.7MIn 2021, Biogen granted its CEO Michel Vounatsos a pay package valued at approximately $17.69 million despite the company’s disappointing introduction of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm (aducanumab). Despite being the first new Alzheimer’s drug to score FDA approval in nearly two decades, the drug has failed to generate material sales. The company had hoped the drug would be a blockbuster.
Although Vounatsos did not make it into the list of the 100 most overpaid CEOs, he ranked 41st out of a 100 in terms of executives with the most shareholder votes against CEO pay.
Christopher A. Viehbacher became the new CEO of Biogen in November 2022.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery, Drug Discovery and Development